What’s shakin’ in the real estate market, you ask? Well, the actual real estate is shaking, of course. Or at least it was yesterday. Hope you all got through unscathed!
Speaking of the earthquake, please do a careful once-over on your properties. FYI, most home insurance policies do NOT cover earthquake damage. Here’s a handy earthquake checklist from the Weather Channel, and FEMA’s list of what to do during an earthquake. Once the quake has passed, check your home for water and gas leaks, as well as any electrical shorts. If you find a problem, contact the utility company or fire department for assistance. Now on to the next disaster: Hurricane Irene. Here’s a handy article on preparing your home for a hurricane. Up next: How to prepare your home for locusts! (Kidding) And, if you’re tired of all these disasters and are just getting out of Dodge, here’s your vacation checklist, including some good home security tips.
Speaking more generally about the market, it’s been a busier-than-average summer. Inventory is still low, and mortgage rates have hit ALL-TIME lows. Turns out that a credit downgrade actually caused investors to flee into US Treasuries (strange, I know), which are helping to keep rates low. Thinking of refinancing? I know some great lenders and settlement companies if you need advice. A good rule of thumb is that if rates are 1% lower than your current rate, and you are planning to stay in the property at least a few more years, you should look into refinancing. But check with a lender about your specific situation.
Low rates aren’t enough to convince anyone we’re headed towards recovery though, and a NY Congressman has proposed another housing stimulus–this one with matching of down payment funds of up to $20,000. Personally I don’t think it will go anywhere in our current political environment, but we’ll see. The Administration is, however, working on a proposal to keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac around, which will help keep rates low.
Conforming loan limits are due to change October 1, which will increase rates for those home buyers borrowing more than $625,000. (Our area’s current limit is $729,750.) Loans must close BEFORE 10/1/11 to qualify for the existing limitations.
Our local real estate and job markets continues to outpace, well, the entire world. And no wonder: Tysons, Herndon, and Arlington made the Best Places to Live for the Rich and Single, and Great Falls, Tysons, and Potomac made CNNMoney’s “Top Earning Towns” list.
We have scheduled our next first time home buyer class for Tuesday September 13, so if you know someone who is interested in learning more about the market and the home buying process, just have them register for our class.
If you know someone looking to move, please don’t hesitate to contact us. And if you’re thinking of selling — contact us for a no obligation market analysis of your home and review of statistics in your local neighborhood.