Real Estate Information Archive
Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 21
Maturity date. Date on which principal and interest on a mortgage or other loan must be paid in full.
Q: What is seller financing?
A: Also known as a purchase money mortgage, it is when the seller agrees to “lend” money to the buyer to purchase and close on the seller’s home. Usually sellers do this when money is tight, interest rates are high or when a buyer has difficulty qualifying for a conventional loan or meeting the purchase price.
Seller financing differs from a traditional loan because the seller does not actually give the buyer cash to complete the purchase, as does the lender. Instead, it involves issuing a credit against the purchase price of the home. The buyer executes a promissory note or trust deed in the seller’s favor.
The seller may take back a second note or finance the entire purchase if he owns the home free and clear.
The buyer makes a sizeable down payment and agrees to pay the seller directly every month.
When winter’s snow and ice finally melt away, they invariably leave behind an unpleasant reminder of this winter’s severe storm season—potholes.
“Major winter storms have affected much of the country this season. While many motorists’ cars have made it through the winter storm season unscathed, they could still fall victim to a pothole left in its aftermath,” said John Nielsen, director, AAA Auto Repair and Buying Programs.
Potholes form when moisture collects in small holes and cracks in the road surface. As temperatures rise and fall, the moisture expands and contracts due to freezing and thawing. This breaks up the pavement and, combined with the weight of passing cars, eventually results in a pothole.
To aid motorists in protecting their vehicles from pothole damage, AAA recommends the following:
Inspect tires. The tire is the most important cushion between a car and a pothole. Make sure tires have enough tread and are properly inflated. To check the tread depth, insert a quarter into the tread groove with Washington’s head upside down. The tread should cover part of Washington’s head. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to start shopping for new tires. When checking tire pressure, ensure they are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended levels, which can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker on the driver’s door jamb. Do not use the pressure levels stamped on the sidewall of the tire.
Inspect suspension. Make certain struts and shock absorbers are in good condition. Changes in vehicle handling, excessive vibration or uneven tire wear can indicate bad shocks or struts. Have the suspension inspected by a certified technician if you suspect problems.
Look ahead. Make a point of checking the road ahead for potholes. An alert driver may have time to avoid potholes, so it’s important to stay focused on the road and not any distractions inside or outside the vehicle. Before swerving to avoid a pothole, check surrounding traffic to ensure this will not cause a collision or endanger nearby pedestrians or cyclists.
Slow down. If a pothole cannot be avoided, reduce speed safely being sure to check the rearview mirror before any abrupt braking. Hitting a pothole at higher speeds greatly increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels and suspension components.
Beware of puddles. A puddle of water can disguise a deep pothole. Use care when driving through puddles and treat them as though they may be hiding potholes.
Check alignment. Hitting a pothole can knock a car’s wheels out of alignment and affect the steering. If a vehicle pulls to the left or right, have the wheel alignment checked by a qualified technician.
Recognize noises/vibrations. A hard pothole impact can dislodge wheel weights, damage a tire or wheel, and bend or even break suspension components. Any new or unusual noises or vibrations that appear after hitting a pothole should be inspected immediately by a certified technician.
For more information, visit www.aaa.com.
RealtyTrac, a leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for January 2011, which shows foreclosure filings—default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions—were reported on 261,333 U.S. properties in January, a 1% increase from the previous month, but a 17% decrease from January 2010. The report also shows one in every 497 housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month.
“We’ve now seen three straight months with fewer than 300,000 properties receiving foreclosure filings, following 20 straight months where the total exceeded 300,000,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “Unfortunately this is less a sign of a robust housing recovery and more a sign that lenders have become bogged down in reviewing procedures, resubmitting paperwork and formulating legal arguments related to accusations of improper foreclosure processing.”
Foreclosure Activity by Type
A total of 75,198 U.S. properties received default notices (NOD, LIS) in January, a 1% decrease from the previous month and a 27% decrease from January 2010—the 12th straight month where default notices decreased on a year-over-year basis. January was also the fourth straight month where default notices decreased on a month-over-month basis, giving it the lowest monthly total for default notices since July 2007.
Default notices in states with a non-judicial foreclosure process (NOD) increased less than 1% from the previous month, but were down 8% from January 2010, while default notices in states with a judicial foreclosure process (LIS) decreased 2% from December and were down 39% from January 2010.
Foreclosure auctions (NTS, NFS) were scheduled for the first time on a total of 108,002 U.S. properties in January, a 4% decrease from the previous month and a 13% decrease from January 2010. It was the lowest monthly total for scheduled foreclosure auctions since February 2009.
Scheduled non-judicial foreclosure auctions (NFS) decreased 1% from December and were down 3% from January 2010, while scheduled judicial foreclosure auctions (NTS) decreased 14% from the previous month and were down 39% from January 2010.
Lenders foreclosed on 78,133 U.S. properties in January, up 12% from the previous month, but still down 11% from January 2010. Bank repossessions (REO) in non-judicial foreclosure states increased 23% from December, but were still down 9% from January 2010, while bank repossessions in judicial foreclosure states decreased 7% from the previous month and were down 16% from January 2010.
Nevada, Arizona, California post top state foreclosure rates
Nevada bank repossessions increased 16% from the previous month, helping the state maintain the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 49th straight month—despite month-over-month decreases in default notices and scheduled auctions. One in every 93 Nevada housing units received a foreclosure filing in January—more than five times the national average.
One in every 175 Arizona housing units received a foreclosure filing in January, the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate. Arizona foreclosure activity increased 16% from the previous month—driven by a 54% month-over-month increase in REOs—but was still down 25% from January 2010.
California REO activity increased 32% from the previous month, and the state posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 200 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.
Idaho posted the nation’s fourth highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 241 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, while Utah posted the nation’s fifth highest state foreclosure rate, with one in every 265 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the month.
Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 in January were Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Florida and Colorado.
Five states account for more than 50 percent of national total
With 67,072 properties receiving a foreclosure filing, California accounted for more than 25% of the national total in January. After hitting a 25-month low in November, California foreclosure activity has increased on a month-over-month basis for two straight months.
Florida foreclosure activity decreased on a month-over-month basis for the fourth straight month, but the state’s 21,671 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in January—a 42-month low—was still the second highest in the nation.
Michigan foreclosure activity increased for the second straight month, and the state posted the nation’s third highest total, with 16,716 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in January.
Arizona posted the nation’s fourth highest total, with 15,757 properties receiving a foreclosure filing, whileTexas posted the nation’s fifth highest total, with 14,897 properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the month.
Other states with foreclosure activity totals among the nation’s 10 highest in January were Illinois (13,164), Georgia (12,772), Nevada (12,263), Ohio (8,924) and New Jersey (5,526).
Top 10 metro rates in Nevada, California and Arizona, while Florida metros drop
With one in every 82 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in January, the Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., metro area maintained the nation’s highest foreclosure rate among metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more. Las Vegas foreclosure activity decreased nearly 13% from the previous month and increased less than 1% from January 2010.
The other Nevada metro area in the top 10 was Reno-Sparks, at No. 5 with one in every 132 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.
Seven California metro areas posted foreclosure rates in the top 10, led by Modesto, at No. 2 with one in every 111 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing; Stockton, at No. 3 with one in every 114 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing; and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, at No. 4 with one in every 120 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing. Other California metro areas with foreclosure rates in the top 10 were Vallejo-Fairfield at No. 6 (one in 135 housing units); Bakersfield at No. 7 (one in 143); Merced at No. 9 (one in 149); and Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville at No. 10 (one in 151).
Sacramento was the only California metro area in the top 10 to report increasing foreclosure activity on a month-over-month and year-over year basis.
With one in every 143 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in January, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area posted the nation’s eighth highest metro foreclosure rate.
No Florida cities showed up in the top 20 metro foreclosure rates in January. In contrast, the state accounted for nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates in 2010.
For more information, visit www.realtytrac.com.
American’s energy consumption per capita in 2009 dipped to its lowest level in 41 years, but we still use twice as much energy as the average European and more energy than people in most other countries. While this may be alarming, there are simple ways for homeowners to save energy while lowering their utility bills.
According to Greener Choices, a Web-based initiative to inform, engage and empower consumers about environmentally-friendly products and practices, the following practices can save homeowners a bundle.
1. Fix leaky ducts – Pay a qualified heating and cooling professional to seal and insulate both the heating and cooling ducts that run through your home, especially in unconditioned spaces. By fixing leaky ducts, you can save an average of $400 a year.
2. Program your thermostat – You can trim up to 20% from your heating and cooling bills by adjusting the inside temperature of your home between 5-10 degrees at night or when you’re not home. A programmable thermostat makes adjusting the temperature even easier since it will make the setbacks for you. Installing a programmable thermostat will save you around $200 a year.
3. Pay attention to driving habits – Obeying speed limits and avoiding hard acceleration and braking will add several miles per gallon to the fuel efficiency of your midsized car. By paying more attention to your driving habits, you can save around $200 a year.
4. Tame hidden energy use – Between 5-10% of residential electricity goes to devices that draw power when they’re off or in standby mode. Video games are a major offender, so be sure to turn off gaming systems when they are not being used. This will save you about $125 a year.
5. Stop pre-rinsing – Washing dishes before you put them in the dishwasher wastes up to 6,500 gallons of water per year, plus the cost to heat that water. Tests have proven that pre-rinsing dishes before sticking them in the dishwasher is unnecessary, and by eliminating this practice, homeowners can save around $75 a year.
6. Wash in cold water – Washing your clothes in cold water will save you an average of $60 a year. Using a laundry detergent that is specially made for cold water will get your clothes clean.
7. Adjust modes – Manufacturers often ship televisions in “retail mode” to ensure the best picture quality under bright showroom lights. By switching to the home mode, which is fine for most types of viewing, homeowners can save $30-$60 a year.
For more information, visit www.greenerchoices.org.
Q: What are the advantages of owning a home?
A: There are many. Among the most appealing: you own it, which gives you, instead of a landlord, control of your living space. Other benefits stem from potential tax savings and the build up of equity as your property likely appreciates in price over time. Equity can be used to help put children through college, purchase a second home, or make home improvements.
The mortgage interest paid on a home loan is tax deductible, as is the local property tax. If you get a fixed-rate home mortgage loan, you also can invest more wisely knowing your monthly mortgage payment, unlike rent, will not change substantially.