Author: AdminPOM

Borrower News: Lower Limits on FHA Loans

October 1st marked the first day of the newly-lowered FHA loan limits, which are expected to impact the borrowing abilities of buyers in some of the nation’s most expensive housing districts. FHA loans, which are essentially loans guaranteed by the federal government via the Federal Housing Administration, are popular loan choices with individuals who are having a hard time saving enough cash for a traditional 20-percent downpayment—including first-time homebuyers nationally, and buyers in particularly expensive markets like California. In the wake of the recent financial crisis and housing downturn, the loan limits were raised by Congress in February of 2009, in an effort to stimulate activity in the housing market and instill confidence in wavering lenders and buyers. In pricey regions, the limit was raised to $729,750, and meant that FHA loans represented a significant alternative for many buyers. The old limit for demarcation between jumbo and traditional loans was $417,000. As of October 1st, loan limits are dropping, in accordance with a calculation that involves a county’s median income. The changes will be most noticeable in top-dollar markets, where limits are falling over $100,000—some, such as Monterey County in California, are dropping over $200,000. Experts expect the loan limit drop to affect regional markets differently, particularly as most markets nationwide have median home prices well below the revised FHA loan limit amounts. Expensive markets, as outlined above, will...

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The “Light” Remodel

As the weather becomes warmer, you may be reconsidering the decor of your home. What can you do if cost may be an issue? Your home’s appearance can change dramatically with one simple focus: lighting. By making some small changes to your home’s lighting scheme you may be surprised at the transformation and how lightly it affects your budget. To begin, you’ll need to evaluate your lighting needs. To do this, assess the home’s lighting situation by checking how much light currently exists around your home, including the exterior of the home. Look to see if lighting is sufficient inside (say, for reading), and outside for safety viewing walk ways and stairs. Check how much natural light is entering your home and whether you may be inhibiting it from getting in. Open curtains and draw shades to let in the sun’s light. Don’t forget to clean windows. By doing these things you’ll liven up the home and even lower your energy bill. New fixtures may be necessary to maximize the efficiency of the lighting scheme. If you’re an empty nester, lamps with rocker switches, which are large enough to be operated with ease, may be a good idea. For busy homeowners, fixtures that are low maintenance and easy to clean may be the way to go. Look for lights that are easily changed. Although ceiling lights with bulb covers...

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Cleaning Stone Surfaces – The Right Way

Although stone countertops would seem to have a durable hard surface, you must take care not to seriously damage the stone surfaces in your home by using the wrong cleaning products. You might not have thought so, but your common, everyday cleaning products may be doing more harm then good to surfaces such as marble, travertine, granite, slate, and other natural stone types frequently used in homes. This is because these types of surfaces are actually extremely porous. A common misconception is that the polished shine on a stone’s surface means that it is sealed. However, irreparable damage can be caused by liquids such as juice or ink that seep into the surface and stain the stone. To prevent and protect against stain threats to your natural stone surfaces you’ll need to use the correct products. This, along with regular cleaning, will help to keep your investment in countertops and floors paying off and looking new for years to come. Protection begins with treating natural stone surfaces with a sealer which will also keep it looking new. Although stone surfaces are commonly pre-sealed, it usually wears away within one to five years, depending upon the amount of use and wear. When cleaning, most people use general all- purpose cleaners on natural stone, including disinfecting wipes or glass cleaners. These products can deteriorate the stone’s sealer and lead to surface...

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REITs: The Safe Investment

Once again real-estate stocks did better than the overall stock market in the second quarter, which means that investors are continuing to wager on property firms amid the distressed global climate. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) were up almost 10% in the first half of the year compared to a 6% increase in S&P’s stock index, and just over 8.5% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average-this is on a total return basis. In fact, REITs have been performing exceptionally well over the last two years, returning nearly 30%. The assumption is that real-estate stocks will suffer less than other financial investments that have been hurt by concerns over the European debt crisis. The nice REIT dividend yields haven’t hurt much either, attracting investors. Despite gains, analysts are pointing out that REITs aren’t performing when they’re compared with underlying real-estate values. It’s claimed that over an extended period, REITs should perform better than real-estate prices, because REITs may be leveraged by partaking in valuable activities and wisely timed acquisitions. With this being the case, REITs should at least be able to return better than a passive real-estate market. The perception of this lack of performance is attributed by some to dilutive stock sales that REITs undertook in recent years to parry loan defaults and bankruptcies. Yet, last year REITs raised over $26 billion in equity equaling the largest since 1997;...

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