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A little song to brighten your day...Snow on Da Ground.....

Snow on da ground.....Snow on the ground....lookin like a fool with your car spun around....Drivin on the ice with your car goin' sideways...slidin' on the highways...mailbox hittin' sideways....driving like a fool with your car spun around.....snow on da ground...snow on da ground.....

Just a little song to brighten your day :)

10 Secrets of OFF SEASON Home Buying!

10 Secrets of Off-Season Home Buying

As the housing market heads into its sluggish months, savvy buyers can squeeze out some nice deals

With real estate values still sliding and mortgage rates approaching record lows, a favorable climate for home buying is accompanying this year's fall foliage. And as the days grow colder, housing experts say home buyers will have another reason to jump into the market in the coming months. "Let's face it," says Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance. "Anybody who is trying to sell a house going into the winter months has to be flexible, and you should be able to get good deals." That's because the residential real estate market is highly seasonal, with many home buyers planning their transactions around the academic calendar. Buyers with children typically start their search in the early spring in hopes of having a contract signed by summer so they can move into their new house by late August. Once the school year begins, however, the housing market heads into a period of hibernation, with sales activity declining until January or February, when it bottoms out.

dblclick('xxlA');Click here to find out more!

1. Make sure you are secure in your job: Although the house-hunting climate may be favorable, buyers need to be confident in their income stream before jumping into the real estate market. And with the unemployment rate heading toward 10 percent, a growing number of Americans may find themselves out of work in the coming months. "If you are unsure about your [employment] outlook, there is nothing wrong with renting," says Mike Larson of Weiss Research. "Renting is a bargain these days, too." The real estate research firm Reis says that the national apartment vacancy rate hit its highest level since 1986 in the third quarter. Landlords dropped asking prices by nearly 2 percent to attract tenants, the firm says.

2. Spit-shine your credit: With home loan defaults on the rise, banks have jacked up lending standards for borrowers of all sorts. For example, today's borrowers will need a FICO score of roughly 720 or higher to get the most attractive mortgage rates. At the same time, most borrowers will have to produce several months of bank statements and tax returns for the previous two years to obtain a loan, Cecala says. Such requirements, while not earth-shattering, stand in stark contrast to the breezy credit standards that many could get in the first half of the decade. "It is a brave new world out there when it comes to getting a mortgage," Cecala says. To ensure that they can get the home loan they need, he recommends that house hunters get preapproved by a lender before starting their search. "The idea is to try to work your way through the financing issues before you actually are ready to put an offer down," he says. It's also helpful for borrowers to review their FICO score and credit reports. If any errors appear on the credit report, take care of them.

[See 8 Simple Steps to a Higher Credit Score.]

3. Gear up to get down: The financial turbulence of the past two years has driven the once-popular "no money down" home loan into extinction. As a result, would-be home buyers will need cash on hand for a down payment. Although requirements will vary, depending on the borrower and the market, buyers will need a down payment of at least 3.5 percent. "If you haven't got your assets in order, or your liquid reserves are pretty low, you are going to want to go make changes to your holdings so that you have got the cash available to make the transaction happen," says Keith Gumbinger of HSH.com, which tracks mortagages and consumer loans. Borrowers who can't come up with a down payment should consider setting aside a portion of each paycheck until they have saved enough cash.

4. Get wired: Although national housing statistics often make the headlines, real estate markets fluctuate tremendously from one place to the next. As a result, it's essential for house hunters to become intimately familiar with the community they are looking to buy into. What are the home price trends? How long have listings remained on the market? Although a real estate agent with experience in that particular market can be a big help with these questions, today's buyers can also gather all sorts of useful information from real estate websites like Zillow and Trulia. (U.S. News has a partnership with Trulia.) And Joshua Dorkin, the founder and CEO of BiggerPockets.com, a real estate networking and information site, encourages home buyers to find a good real estate blog that covers the area. "The advent of the localized real estate blogger is a really useful tool for buyers," Dorkin says. "You will get a nice localized perspective as to what's going on in the neighborhood."

 

5. Do your homework: For a ground-level understanding of the community you're considering, get out and stretch your legs. "Drive around the neighborhood, go up and down [and] look at all the houses," Dorkin says. "Are people taking care of their properties? Is every house on the block for sale or for rent?" Don't be shy about snooping around—go ahead and knock on a few doors and find out what the neighbors think of the community. "I always tell people that if schools are a priority for them . . . they should visit a potential school as opposed to just doing the research and getting test scores," says Judy Moore of Re/Max Landmark Realtors in Lexington, Mass. Moore also recommends that would-be buyers figure out how long a commute they would have from the property to their office. "I always suggest that a buyer do a test run," she says.

6. Pay attention to Washington: The steps the federal government has taken to stabilize home prices have turned the nation's capital into an important variable in the outlook for the real estate market. And future developments coming out of Washington could have profound implications for would-be home buyers. For example, the popular $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit, which took effect in February, is set to expire at the end of November. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, has endorsed a bill that would push the deadline back six months. And Scott Talbott, a top lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, says the measure is "very likely" to become law. "It threads the needles of politics and costs," Talbott says. "The U.S. economy and the housing market desperately need it."

Developments at the Federal Reserve, meanwhile, could also have important ramifications for home buyers. The Fed recently moved to extend by three months its program of purchasing debt and mortgage-backed securities from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, helping ensure that mortgage rates will remain attractive for a longer period of time. Depending on how the economy and housing market perform in coming months, the Fed could always tweak this program again. In light of these potential developments, would-be home buyers need to pay attention to the news coming out of the nation's capital as they continue their search.

[See Fed Moves to Maintain Low Mortgage Rates: 5 Things to Know.]

7. Check out the foreclosure stock (with help): While it's been a nightmare for some homeowners, the foreclosure epidemic has created bargain opportunities for would-be buyers. House hunters should be sure to check out the foreclosed inventory in their local market. However, foreclosed home buying can present headaches that many consumers aren't qualified to handle on their own. Anyone looking to get into foreclosed home buying should track down an agent with experience handling such transactions. "A lot of people don't realize [that] foreclosures are heavily regulated, and every state has its own set of laws," says Alexis McGee, the president of Foreclosures.com. "If you don't have the language proper in your contract, or if you have even the font size wrong, it's criminal and civil damages. Don't count on every Realtor knowing this."

8. Beware of rising taxes: Buyers should pay close attention to real estate taxes associated with the property they are considering. But rather than simply looking at the present amount, Gumbinger says borrowers should determine the trajectory of the area's tax rates. "Your Realtor will tell you, 'Taxes on this property were $3,600 last year,' " Gumbinger says. But borrowers need additional information. "What were [property taxes] the year before? What were they the year before that? How fast are taxes rising? Because with states so strapped, property taxes are definitely on the rise and could put a crimp in your livelihood," Gumbinger says.

9. Get those concessions: Although the national housing market is clearly on the mend, buyers still have plenty of leverage over sellers in most parts of the country. "In my market, [buyers] still have a great deal of influence, and the sellers will do just about anything, assuming it is doable and legal," to get the home sold, Phipps says. So don't be shy about bargaining. Feel free to low-ball the listing price or ask the seller to pitch in for closing costs. Just be aware that if you go overboard with unrealistic requests, you could insult the seller and tank the deal. "You can negotiate hard and aggressively, but you also need to know when to be magnanimous," says Phipps.

10. Don't feel pressure d to act immediately: Larson expects home prices at the national level to continue sliding—albeit at a less precipitous rate—until they hit bottom sometime in the next 12 months. (Home prices could fall another 5 percent before then, he says.) At the same time, mortgage rates are projected to remain in an attractive range—between 5 and 5.5 percent, approximately—for the next six months or so. As a result, buyers in most markets should not feel pressured to act immediately. "There is no harm in waiting for the right deal, as opposed to jumping into something because you are afraid of losing that opportunity," Larson says.

REMEMBER!! CELL PHONE Numbers Go PUBLIC Next Month!!!! L@@K-->

Remember Cell Phone Numbers Go Public Next Month, L@@k -->

By: Vance Remele
Monday, August 10, 2009 11:36 AM

Cell phone numbers go public next month


REMEMBER: Cell Phone Numbers Go Public next month.

REMINDER....

All cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale calls..

..... YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS

Even if the message is saved on your phone, you will be charged for the minutes to listen to it.

To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone:   
888-382-1222.
It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years.

You must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked.

"You cannot call from a different phone number".

HELP OTHERS BY PASSING THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS...

It takes about 20 seconds.

Uncle Vance Public Service

Don't Blame The Borrowers

Don't Blame The Borrowers

Michael Hudson, 04.08.09, 12:00 AM EDT

Responsibility lies with mortgage lenders and their partners on Wall Street.

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These days, some drivers are sporting bumper stickers that say: "Honk if you're paying my mortgage." CNBC on-air reporter Rick Santelli sparked a firestorm by calling people struggling to keep up with their mortgages "losers."

As federal policymakers have moved to provide assistance to borrowers who are in danger of losing their homes, these affronts--and other blame-the-borrower rhetoric--are on the rise. Some commentators are publicizing the fiction that it was greedy borrowers who brought down our economy by buying homes they couldn't afford.

It's an idea, however, that belies the facts on the ground. Less than 10% of subprime mortgages, for example, went to first-time home buyers; the vast majority of subprime home loans were refinancings. Many subprime borrowers, in fact, took cash out to pay off medical bills or cover debts that had ballooned because of job losses or divorce.

Borrowers living on the financial edge were targets of an out-of-control mortgage machine created by big lenders and Wall Street. It was a system designed to value overheated growth and quick bucks over sustainable and sensible lending.

Lenders used three unseemly tactics to fuel their headlong growth; the first was bait-and-switch salesmanship. Government investigators found a pattern of fraud at many of the nation's largest mortgage lenders, including Ameriquest, Household and Countrywide. Fast-talking loan salespeople knew the ins and outs of the increasingly complex loan products they were selling; borrowers were no match. California's attorney general, for example, has charged that Countrywide "misrepresented or obfuscated the true terms" of its "hybrid" adjustable-rate mortgages, lying about whether or not the loans would adjust upward or about how long the initial fixed rate lasted.

Lenders also pressured real-estate appraisers to overstate home values in order to make these deals appear legitimate. Borrowers had no control over this; lenders picked the appraisers and provided the financial inducements to conjure bogus home values. For years, an ongoing petition signed by thousands of appraisers charged that lenders frequently "black-balled" honest appraisers and instead used "rubber stamp" appraisers who gave them the values they wanted.

Lastly, there is the issue of inflated borrower incomes. As the real-estate bubble grew, and mortgages got bigger and bigger, lenders used puffed-up financial data to qualify borrowers for loans that, in truth, they couldn't really afford. Some borrowers were aware they were exaggerating their income and savings. But they almost invariably did so under the instructions of mortgage professionals who told them what numbers they needed to claim to get their money--and reassured them that it was perfectly OK because this was the way things were done.

Many borrowers, though, had no idea their financial profiles had been manipulated. They did what most people thought was standard procedure, turning in pay stubs and tax documents to their lenders. But workers inside the lending machine brushed aside this documentation and instead created falsified paperwork designed to speed the loans through the approval process and encourage investors to buy them on the burgeoning "mortgage-backed" securities market.

Archuletta is right. The ultimate responsibility lies with the financial professionals. Lenders and their Wall Street funding partners had the final say on whether or not to make a loan. They were the ones who embraced a wink-and-nod policy of willful ignorance and reckless disregard, creating and pushing "no-documentation" loans, NINA ("No Income No Assets") loans and other shoddily underwritten mortgage products that helped spark America's financial meltdown.

Meanwhile, the federal government has, by one estimate, committed more than $12 trillion to try and prop up failing banks and other firms that helped create the crisis. The Obama administration's housing plan proposes to spend a fraction of that--$75 billion--on direct aid to keep struggling borrowers in their homes.

As policymakers and citizens consider how this money is being spent, we should worry less about blaming victims and more about the social and economic benefits of keeping families in their homes. If millions more foreclosures are allowed to go through, the self-sustaining spiral of plummeting home values and recessionary pain will continue, and all of us will suffer.

Michael Hudson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, is a researcher at the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonpartisan policy organization based in Durham, N.C. He is currently working on a book about the rise and fall of the subprime mortgage market.

What do you think about the Mortgage "CramDown"?
 

Say Hello to "Cramdowns" and Goodbye to Retirement

Mortgage "cramdowns" are being pushed in government legislation as we speak.  For borrowers who are in Chapter 13 bankrupcty, a cramdown is when a bankruptcy judge is allowed to lower the actual balance of the insolvent borrower's mortgage.

This is the peak of a number of homeowner-rescue tactics.  While there have been plenty of options for borrowers to have their interest rates lowered or late penalties removed from their loans, never before has the government allowed a judge to choose the balance of a loan and force a bank to accept it.

Have a 401k?  IRA?  Pension?  Plan on retiring any time soon?  You should be worried.  Much of the current turmoil in the markets is based on financial institutions' instability.  Cramdowns will amplify those problems, and the markets will suffer increasingly.  When banks' assets are on the line, so are yours.

There isn't a lot of sympathy for banks right now, but the banks are losing their shirts, too.  Have you seen the stock prices, layoffs, and government takeovers?  This has all happened before the actual instrument of these banks' assets becomes dependent on bankruptcy judges' opinions of "appropriateness".

We all want to be sympathetic to those who are having trouble paying their mortgages, and our government is putting out a lot of options for those folks.  Cramdowns are only going to bring down a lot more people at a faster pace.

So your ready to sell....What about all of your hard work?

Well, let's talk about pricing your home.  You are ready, you decided, yes I want to sell my home, it could be for a variety of reasons, perhaps you have outgrown your first home, or maybe your children have flown the coop and now you want a cozier place to live, or maybe, just maybe it's time for something different - ok - what do you do now? Who do you call? Who can you trust? You have put so much money into your home, you redecorated, finished the basement, you say to yourself - "hey, this home is worth so much more than any others in the neighborhood, I will easily sell this so much higher than any other home around here, just look at it." - STOP - BIG stop sign.....RED LIGHT!!!!! - Do not pass go and do not expect to easily collect $200.

That in ground pool that takes up your whole yard has been enjoyed by your kids for years and even when they were in college, but when a family with young kids see it, they think, oh no way - the whole yard is a pool, my kids will surely drown.

That $10,000 you put in to make your basement a movie theatre is wonderful and a great selling point, but your home is priced 20k above the others without a movie theatre, does this family really need a movie theatre in their home? for 20k? Of course it is nice to have, however it really was for you to enjoy.  Let's face it, this family can purchase a home similar in the same neighborhood for 20k less without the pool or the movie theatre.

Now, I am not recommending that you underprice your home, but take some time to think about what is important to families that might want to look in your neighborhood.  What are their needs? Not their wants? If you price your home much higher than others in the neighborhood, how will the buyers get a return on their own investment in your home? Would a buyer that has 20k to 30k more to spend rather be in a different area where those homes are priced and sell at that price?

I know a home that is on the market that is magnificent!  It is amazing, in a great area and I know the owners personally.  I asked them prior to them putting it on the market, what are you thinking of selling this home at? What is your bottom line - well their bottom line was about 200k over the asking price of any home in that area - was it totally updated? YES - was it beautiful - YES - did they put in that amount to the home? YES - will they get what they are asking? NO  why? Because it's overpriced for the area period.  My advice to her as a friend was to put a for sale sign by owner sign on the property, because any agent that took it was doing a diservice to them by  listing it that high, I would never list it at that price, why? Because it's not fair to them, I know it will not sell, even with everything, they should enjoy what they did to it and move on.  One year later, it sits on the market still.

It is a bitter pill to swallow and this blog will not be popular with sellers, however the bottom line is that you have to price your area right. Your updates were meant for YOU - enjoy your home, live in it, but when it comes time to sell, remember your area will dictate what home prices go for. If you put an extra 200k into your home, and the neighborhood doesn't recognize that, it will not sell.  They will go to another area that determines that price.