Friday, April 10, 2009

Top Stressful Jobs

The employment website has named "real estate agent" as one of the top five most stressful jobs in the country, but not as stressful as being a surgeon or an airline pilot.

The site, which lists 200 jobs, said the top five most stressful were:

1. Surgeon
2. Airline pilot
3. Photojournalist
4. Advertising Account Executive
5. Real Estate Agents.

The least stressful were:
  1. Actuary
  2. Dietitian
  3. Computer System Analyst
  4. Statistician
  5. Astronomer

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Foreclosure Moratorium Is Over!

The ban on foreclosure sales and evictions from houses owned by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which began as a high-profile effort just before the holidays to keep people in their homes as the government tried to come up with homeowner rescue plans, is over.

A Spokesman for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac confirmed the ban ended March 31. Freddie Mac CEO David Moffett issued a statement at the time, saying the ban "provides a new measure of certainty" to families facing foreclosures during the holidays.

But its expiration didn't seem to merit the same level of fanfare, with some housing advocates caught by surprise.

This means that more hidden inventory will come on the market! Additionally, it is spring traditionally a great time for home sellers. The sellers will have to compete with a glut of new foreclosures.

Barbara Whisenant
Short Sale & Foreclosure Specialist * *
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

First Time HomeBuyer Tax Credit

Tax Credit Update

A tax credit of up to $8,000 is now available for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. Unlike the tax credit enacted in 2008, the new credit does not have to be repaid.

1. A "first-time home buyer" is someone who hasn't owned a principal residence for three years before buying a house. (The date of purchase is considered the day that the title is transferred.) That means if you've owned a vacation home--but not a principal residence--within the past three years, you would still qualify for the credit.

2. 2009 buyers only: Only those who purchase a home on or after January 1 and before December 1, 2009 are eligible for the credit. Anyone who bought a home last year won't be able to take advantage of it.

3. Income limits: The tax credit is subject to income limitations. Single buyers need a modified adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less to qualify for the full credit, that's $150,000 for married couples. Those earning more than these thresholds may be eligible for reduced credits.

4. Who do you know that can benefit from this tax credit? Have them give me a call!

Barbara Whisenant
Short Sale & Foreclosure Specialist
* *

My Ear Hurts!

Ladies, do your ears hurt?

What's with these bluetooth devices?

These nasty little devices became essential for Realtors in California when the laws recently changed, making it illegal to talk on cell phones without a wireless device.

I have tried several different types of ear buds during the last several years. The silly things hurt my ears. They don't make them for women's ears.

Women of the world, lets unite and start a letter or e-mail campaign to the manufactures and demand that they make ear-pieces for us!
Barbara Whisenant
Short Sale & Foreclosure Specialist * *
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

REFINANCE President Obana's Making Home Affordable initiative

Home Loan Refinance

Do you Qualify for a "Making Home Affordable" Refinance?

On March 4, 2009, guidelines were released under President Barack Obama's Making Home Affordable initiative, which is designed to help up to 9 million homeowners stay in their homes through refinanced mortgages or loan modifications.

To qualify, you must:

  • Owe between 80-105% of your mortgage. An analysis shows that 26% of mortgage holders, or 14.8 million homeowners, currently qualify to refinance under these specifications. One quarter (24.6%) of homeowners with mortgages (14 million) do not qualify because they are underwater and owe more than 105% of their home's value. This is especially true in hard-hit areas of California, where home values have fallen 40% or more since the peak.
  • Have a loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Approximately 60% of single-family loans are backed by Fannie or Freddie, but a homeowner may not know this about their own loan. If you don't know, call Fannie at 1-800-7FANNIE and Freddie at 1-800-FREDDIE or submit online forms with Fannie and Freddie.
  • Have a conforming loan. That means a loan under $417,000 in many areas or up to $625,500 in high-cost areas like San Francisco, Boston or Washington, DC.
  • Take this Q&A to see if you qualify. If you don't think you qualify for a refinance, you might qualify for a loan modification under the plan.

Reasons to Refinance

  • Lower your interest, but keep your term: When rates drop you want to take advantage of it and lower your monthly payments, but keep the length of your mortgage.
  • Take care of that balloon payment: You opted for a short-term ARM with a balloon payment and the due date is looming, so you have to come up with a longer-term loan.
  • Shorten your term: Lower interest rates (or an increase in your income) mean you can pay down your principal faster.
  • Credit rating change: Take advantage of an improved credit rating and get out from under that high rate you had to accept when you bought.
  • You need cash: In some cases, you can refinance for an amount more than what you still owe on your home. Lenders limit the Loan to Value at no higher than 70 percent for this type of loan.

Costs of Refinancing

Most of the things fees, appraisals, title insurance that went along with an original mortgage hold true for a refi, which means it can cost a fair amount to change loan types. How quickly you recoup the cost depends partially on how long you are going to keep the mortgage. If you are going to be in your home long enough to recover the costs, and get some benefit from lower interest payments over the life of the loan, then it's a no-brainer. But balancing the cost with the benefits of a new mortgage is critical. Use an online calculator to figure it out.

Be sure to remember that closing costs include another appraisal (no matter how recently you've had one), a new credit report, underwriting fees, title insurance, escrow fee, recording fees, and perhaps other small fees. These costs typically range from $1500-$2000. (Some lenders are willing to waive the closing costs for a higher interest rate loan.)

Can You Pay Points on a Refinance?

You can pay points on a refinance loan, same as on an original mortgage, but unlike with the original mortgage, the points are tax deductible over the entire term of the loan rather than just in the first year. Points make sense when rates are on the upswing and you want to get in on the lowest possible rate.

But, except in some cases, points are a fact of life: if you are paying a 1-point fee on a $100,000 refi, you can add $1000 to your closing costs.

You also need to look at your current mortgage to see if there are pre-payment penalties. And what happens to your old mortgage? It's paid off by the new loan, as are any other liens; at the end of the refinance process, ideally you should have only one loan. (If you have more than one mortgage, however, it's possible to refinance just one of the loans if the lender agrees.)

When Does Refinancing Make Sense?

The easy way to figure out if refinancing makes sense is to figure out how long it will take you to pay off the closing costs with the savings you realize with lower monthly payments. If it is longer than the time you plan to stay in the house, then refinancing might be a good option. You have fewer tax breaks with a lower-rate refi, so be sure to ask your lender for a refinance break-even table that will take that into account.

For more information see original post at

Barbara Whisenant
Short Sale & Foreclosure Specialist * *

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]