22 Jan 2014

South Hampton Roads Home Sales Volume Up; Prices Flat

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There was some mixed news out of South Hampton Roads yesterday when Virginia Beach-based Real Estate Information Network, Inc. released its monthly report on home sales. Overall, the market saw a 13.8 percent increase in sales in December 2013 compared with December 2012. Overall, home sales were up approximately 10.4 percent for the year in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, and Chesapeake collectively.

Despite the positive numbers, home prices are remaining fairly flat. The median home price in the region inched up to $195,000 by the end of 2013 which was only a 2.6 percent increase for the entire year. Economists and agents have pointed to cuts in defense as well as a high number of distressed properties as the reason for the slow rebound in prices. It is unclear as to what the actual percentage of distressed properties is in South Hampton Roads due to conflicting reports.

Stay tuned to the Virginia Real Estate Blog as we continue to monitor residential and commercial real estate news from across the state.

Source: http://virginiareblog.com/2014/01/15/south-hampton-roads-home-sales-volumn-up-prices-flat/

29 Apr 2013

Real estate | How to get your home staged to sell

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Tidewater Home Staging in Virginia Beach re-staged the front room of this Aragona home. Staging involves de-cluttering, cleaning and decorating a house before it goes on the market.(David B. Hollingsworth | The Virginian-Pilot)

Buy Pilot photos

By Roberta Vowell
The Virginian-Pilot
© 

IS “NICOTINE” a paint color?

That’s what home stager Kimberly Cash wondered about every room of her latest project.

The sturdy ranch, in an older Virginia Beach suburb, was well-kept, with an enormous sun room added sometime in the 1970s, judging by the aqua-colored indoor/outdoor carpet.

And that’s pretty much the problem, right there.

A family bought the house brand-new back in the mid-’50s and stopped updating soon after.

A wonky wrought-iron railing divided the living room, the carpet was pale blue, the kitchen floor boasted an in-your-face orange tile-look vinyl, and the furniture was a familiar and fusty beige.

Worse, the owners were heavy smokers, thus the brownish pall on walls, ceilings, upholstery and even bathroom tiles.

Cash, owner of Tidewater Home Staging in Virginia Beach, arrived with paint, scrub brushes, a truckload of furniture from her own hoard and a handful of workers.

Shall we take a peek? Past a newly glossy black front door, the living room is grounded by a sofa in a precisely clear tone of olive, joined by chairs in graphic black-and-white prints, tables of various useful sizes (all painted black), an open-work black wooden screen shielding a questionably-placed electrical outlet, and a light scattering of pillows and plates and vases in dark orange tones.

Waiting for a heft onto the wall is an abstract oil painting of olive and black and orange, to tie all these colors together.

Walls and ceiling are painted with “Patience,” a warm, sandy Sherwin Williams hue. Barely a whiff of cigarette butts remains.

Holy non-smokes! Even the retina-burning kitchen vinyl has disappeared, replaced by what looks like stone-colored tiles (actually, an easy-install sheet vinyl).

“You think I was going to leave that floor tile in the kitchen?” Cash said. “Doesn’t the kitchen look bigger and brighter? The secret is I have three go-to flooring colors and styles. That way, I don’t have to rethink every time.”

Home staging is Cash’s forte. Her 10-year-old company is known for quick turnarounds and a willingness to do the messiest jobs, like cleaning clutter left when sellers depart.

For this ranch, her goal was to transition it as economically as possible – “Paint is cheap!” could be her slogan – into a house for a young family.

“This is really modern,” she said, looking around the revamped living room, “for a younger, first-time homeowner. They can imagine themselves living here.”

Which is precisely the point of staging: clearing and cleaning and decorating a house before it goes on the market. It creates rooms that allow buyers to better imagine their furnishings, pets and children in that space.

Their belongings and family, but a slightly better version, clarified Jennifer Farlin, owner of Bella Home Staging in Chesapeake’s Great Bridge neighborhood.

“People never buy a home with the intention of a downward move,” she says. “They are always aspiring to an upgrade.”

During the economic downturn, many Realtors learned staging themselves, like Terri Haynie and June Marshall. The duo calls themselves the Hampton Roads Real Estate Team and work out of a Virginia Beach office of William E. Woods and Associates.

For all sellers and real estate pros, there are a handful of staging steps that start the process:

Curb appeal? Consider door appeal

“You’re standing at the door,” Farlin said, “and the Realtor is fumbling with the lock – it always takes a few seconds – and you are trapped there looking around.”

What you don’t want potential buyers to see are stained doorbells or, worse, a doorbell hanging by its wires. A faded door paint, a shredding door mat, cracked flower pots or weeds in the mulch bed are no-no’s, too.

“If the doorbell doesn’t ring and the curtains are frayed and the front door needs paint,” Haynie said, “they think, ‘Money, money, money.’ And that is the worst thing they can have in their head as they start looking.”

Marshall pointed out that the average price of houses on the market now is $227,000.

“The most expensive door is $500. Are you going to throw away the sale for $500?”

Turn off the smell-o-vision

Pros say that odd and awful smells are the top turn-off for potential buyers.

“Smell is huge,” Marshall said.

“Pets, cigarette smoke, garbage, body odors, even spices,” Haynie said. “They don’t smell it because it is their home, and they are used to it.”

Carpets are often the worst. Stagers often rip the carpet up, hoping for hardwood floors, but prepared to bring in rugs if the hidden layer isn’t pretty. Removing the smell is too important to worry about what you walk on. But there are other offenders.

“You cannot hide dirty clothes,” Farlin said. “You can bag them up and stuff them into a closet, but the smell is still there. It’s kind of greasy – never mind, I’m making myself sick. But I’ll tell you, I can smell it the minute I come through the door.”

And home buyers always open those closets.

“The first things a woman wants to see are the kitchen and the closets,” Haynie said. “You’re going to end up knocking off $20,000 to $30,000 just because the closets are packed with junk.”

Cash recommends removing items that even remind people of smells, including pets’ bowls, collars and beds.

Let it be light, bright – and a bit bland

We’re not advocating blah or boring here. Just nothing that sticks in the mind as “that house with the avocado-green carpet.” Or the “Miami Vice” motif, or the wall stencils gone wild, or the dim lighting.

“Vanilla,” Haynie and Marshall chimed. As long-time business partners, they do tend to finish one another’s sentences and such.

“Vanilla sells,” Haynie said. “You want it to be a little bit of a blank slate that they can envision themselves on.”

By the way, the scent of vanilla is one of the best for a house on show.

“Even men like vanilla,” Haynie said. “Sometimes, they don’t want to be in a house that smells too floral, or some candle like ‘tropical sunset.’ ”

Mostly, “vanilla” is a way of considering a house that looks ready for a new life, and with scant traces of past owners and especially decades.

What doesn’t work? “Kitchen wallpaper with flowers and jugs and grapes,” Cash said.

Billiards tables and table-tennis tables, especially in prominent places, don’t help sell a place, either.

“I had one man who was adamant about not moving the pool table out of his dining room,” Cash said. “I finally put a tablecloth over it and set it for dinner. It sold.”

People are often unaccountably attached to their window treatments.

“I had one woman, she had expensive, elaborate window coverings she’d had made in the ’80s,” Farlin said. “She was furious that I removed them, but they were all brocade and fringe, and they made the place a tomb.”

Take down the gallery

Family photos have got to go. Buyers need to imagine themselves filling those rooms.

“If the house is full of other people’s family pictures,” Marshall said, “it’s like you are an intruder in their house.”

Again, think about a blank slate.

Make your seller anonymous

Ever notice that if you ask Realtors why a family is selling the house, they always say something simple (and conversation-ending) like “relocation”?

In the same theme of creating a new house; stagers recommend removing the sellers’ personal items.

“It’s a sensitive subject,” Cash said, “but you need to realize that not everyone is Christian. You might want to take down the crucifix.”

Haynie recalled her biggest blunder.

“I was showing a house, and we got to the seller’s wall of plaques and honors and stuff, and the buyer says, ‘Hey, this guy’s a master chief!’ Especially here, people know what military ranks make. ‘He’s got the money, he’s got his retirement. He doesn’t need full offer.’ I blew that sale- big time. The less the buyers know about the sellers, the better,” she said.

Axe the “ick”

It’s must be clean, and not just clean, but surgery-on-the-kitchen-floor clean. Beyond that, even the most innocuous human refuse must to go.

“Get rid of the bathroom garbage can,” Farlin said. “Nobody wants to see your dental floss or whatever.”

This is also the “tales-from-the-trenches” category for stagers and agents.

“I did one house, with a fairly well-off gentleman seller,” Farlin said. “I went in to look, and he had his couch up on cinder blocks. He had a row of cans on the mantelpiece, with names like ‘Spunky’ on them. They were the ashes of his dead pets. He had more in the bedroom closet. Oh, and he had a ferret running loose. I cleaned off the coffee table to take it home and paint it, and I discovered his coffee table books were all about Auschwitz.”

While there’s nothing wrong with studying the Holocaust, Farlin said, a house for sale needs a happier vibe.

Show ’em the money

Concentrate on the entry and living room first.

“You need to put your money and time and energy where they are going to see it,” Farlin said.

“Most buyers decide in the first 6 seconds, from hitting the door on. If you don’t grab them emotionally at the door, living room, kitchen, you’ve lost them by the time you get to the bathroom or the room over the garage.”

Fix the easy stuff

Any readily visible item that is broken needs to be addressed, including the doorbell dangling by wires, the electrical plug with no cover, the duct-taped fridge (or anything duct-taped), must be addressed.

“The unspoken question is, ‘If that’s broken, what else haven’t they fixed?’ “Cash said.

A crack on the wall, even just a crack in the paint, looms huge in a buyers’ mind.

“Gaps between the molding, any cracks,” Marshall says, “it screams ‘settlement.’ ”

Let go

Real estate agents often must help sellers break their bond with the house.

“Selling a house is not like selling a car,” Cash said. “There’s a huge emotional attachment.”

Some sellers are upset with their home’s face-lift. “They look at the floor we’ve put down, or the tiles in the bathroom, and they say, ‘Why didn’t we do that?’ Or what I’m doing to their house is just not their style,” Cash said. “But it doesn’t really matter if they like it. ”

Once the sign hits the lawn, detachment is key.

“It’s not your home anymore,” Haynie said. “It’s your biggest economic asset. You have to do what it takes to get the most money for it.”

Complete Article: http://hamptonroads.com/2013/04/real-estate-how-get-your-home-staged-sell

Roberta Vowell, earl-bob@cox.net

09 Mar 2013

Home prices up 6.8% in ’12, biggest gain in 6 years

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A home for sale in the Denver area.

by Julie Schmit, USA TODAY

Published: 02/26/2013 10:35am

A dwindling supply of homes for sale is helping prices.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index for December shows home prices posted the biggest year-over-year increase last year in six years.

Boosted by decreasing inventory and increasing demand, the 20-city index shows prices rose 6.8% in 2012 compared to the year before with price hikes in 19 of 20 major cities tracked, according to the report released Tuesday. Only New York fell, down 0.5%.

On a monthly basis, the 20-city index gained 0.2% in December. Nine cities posted positive monthly gains in December.

The Case-Shiller national composite index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, posted a 7.3% gain in the fourth quarter over a year earlier.

Home prices ended 2012 with “solid gains,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the home price index committee. Housing and residential construction led the economy in the 2012 fourth quarter, he added.

The strong movements, combined with other housing data, suggest that while housing is on the upswing, some of the strongest numbers may have already been seen, Blitzer says.

In a separate report Tuesday, the government said new home sales rose almost 16% in January.

Phoenix continues to lead the recovery with prices up 23% year-over-year. It’s followed by San Francisco, up 14.4%, and Detroit, up 13.6%, S&P says.

Atlanta posted its biggest year-over-year increase since 1991 — 9.9%.

The housing market helped pulled the economy into recession in 2007 but it has finally emerged as a bright spot in the economy.

The strong final few months of the year helped to “cement the housing recovery,” says Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist.

He expects some moderation in home value appreciation this year but says the housing recovery is on a stable footing, fueled by strong fundamentals of high affordability and increasing household formation.

A dwindling supply of homes for sale is also helping prices.

In January, the supply of homes for sale fell to 4.2 months, nearly an 8-year low, the National Association of Realtors says. That means if no more homes came on the market, they would all be sold within 4.2 months.

The tight inventories are spurring bidding wars and multiple offers in some markets, particularly out West where supplies are most tight. Much of the country is now a seller’s market, NAR says.

The winter months are typically slower in the housing market. But high demand and tight inventories in many markets helped “keep things at a boil” into January, Humphries says.

Zillow’s home value data shows values continued to rise in January, leaving them up 6.2% year-over-year.

Investors continue to purchase many homes. In January, they accounted for 19% of home sales, down from 23% a year ago, NAR says.

Low interest rates are also fueling demand from first-time buyers and those who lost homes to foreclosure or short sales several years ago, says John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Rates edged up slightly to an average of 3.56% for the week ended Feb. 21 for the 30-year-fixed rate loan.

Copyright 2013 USATODAY.com

07 Dec 2011

Real Estate Market Bottom?

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11 Nov 2011

How to estimate remodeling payback

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Mary Umberger

On Real Estate

November 4, 2011
Want to increase the value of your house? Add a third bathroom.

That’s the single attribute, across the spectrum of single-family homes, that has the greatest impact on a home’s value, according to an interesting little gizmo that the National Association of Home Builders recently updated on its website, NAHB.com.

The tool has been on the NAHB site for several years, but Paul Emrath, the organization’s senior vice president for survey and housing policy research, recently updated it to factor in the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey.

Although its immediate purpose is to help the trade group’s builder and developer members calculate which home features are most desirable in their region, the calculator has some insights for consumers too, he said.

“It can give you an idea of how much particular features add to the value of a home, how much you should be looking to pay for something, how much you might be able to save if you give something, and how certain locations are valued,” he said.

Limited geographic detail. Emrath is quick to point out that because the data are derived from the Census Bureau’s broad-stroke categories, the tool can be a little frustrating. For one thing, the data-gatherers divide the country into five very broadly defined regions; homeowners using the tool in, say, a Chicago suburb, will have to work around the given that their values are lumped in with, say, suburban Indianapolis or suburban Duluth, Minn., where home prices are likely to be lower. And, of course, there’s the reality that suburbs within a given metro, even a given ZIP code, will vary widely in the value of their housing stock.

Further limitations. The Home Price Estimator enables the user to date a home’s age only within five categories. A home that was built in 1950 would fall into the same category as one built in 1895.

While we’re at it, let’s point out that technophobes might have a little trouble getting the whole thing off the ground. First, finding it: Within nahb.com, go to the “housing data” button, then, select “housing’s economic impact” from the menu, which will lead to the House Price Estimator.

Further, getting it to work requires that a user’s computer be equipped with Microsoft Excel, and users will have to adjust their security settings to permit macros, or certain programming shortcuts, to run. And Emrath suggested using Internet Explorer; he said the NAHB has encountered compatibility problems with Mozilla Firefox and other Web browsers.

Further, some Internet service providers may apply security or other procedures that prevent the estimator from running properly. If you run into those roadblocks, the only solution might be to head for another computer, he said.

Hypothetical model. Once you get there, though, it’s an intriguing toy: We checked out a hypothetical house built between 1980 and 1994 in a Midwest suburb, with three bedrooms, 21/2 baths and 2,100 square feet.

We stipulated that it had central air conditioning, a garage, family room and basement. The calculator allows “other” rooms to be counted, so we threw in the kitchen and a sunroom.

We also conceded some givens: It’s not in a gated community and there’s no community clubhouse, park or public transportation nearby; it did have stores within a mile. And we said the area was in pretty good shape: no abandoned buildings nearby, no trash/litter problems, roads in good shape, no noxious odors in the area and no nearby buildings with metal bars on the windows. It gave us a value of about $180,000 for our hypothetical house.

Then we added a fireplace, and the estimated value went up to $204,000. We added a fireplace and a third bath, and it went up to $247,000. Again, we acknowledge the generalizations here, but so far, so good — we do get a benchmark result. But add one of those negatives — we went back and admitted that there’s an abandoned house within half a block — a not-unrealistic concern in this age of foreclosures. The price dropped to $176,000. Throw into the mix that roads in the area are in need of repair, and the value changes to about $171,000.

Sobering. But it’s a reminder to would-be home sellers that regardless of whether you’re comfortable with the estimator’s basic parameters, the value of your house probably hangs on more than what’s within its walls.

In any case, if you don’t like the numbers you see, you probably ought not blame NAHB and its estimator — blame your fellow citizens. The numbers are derived from what homeowners told the Census Bureau they thought their homes were worth. You can crunch all the housing numbers you can get your hands on, but real estate still boils down to a game of perceptions.

24 Aug 2011

Investors Who Do a Few Mortgages on the Side

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By DAWN WOTAPKA

Dallas attorney Joey Messina has a side business some might find surprising: He uses his own money to make mortgage loans to people who banks likely would avoid.

Across the U.S., some mom-and-pop investors are yanking money from retirement accounts and safe but stingy savings to take on the risk of becoming “hard-money” mortgage lenders. Dawn Wotapka explains.

In the past two years, Mr. Messina has funded 20 mortgages, ranging in size from $40,000 to $102,000. The mortgages carry interest rates of 14%—more than double the rates charged by most banks and far superior to the returns Mr. Messina received on his savings account. And despite the housing market’s weakness, Mr. Messina believes that originating home loans in the current environment, when many economists believe housing is at or near bottom, is less risky than putting money in the volatile stock market or opaque bond market.

“I can’t drive by and look at those [stocks and bonds],” says Mr. Messina, who is 35 years old. Plus, he says, investing in residential real estate earns “passive income that doesn’t require much work from me.”

He isn’t alone. Across the nation, a number of mom-and-pop investors are pulling money out of their retirement accounts and safe, but low-yielding, savings to take on the risk of becoming “hard-money” mortgage lenders, who charge high interest rates to borrowers who have been rejected by traditional banks.

Hard-money mortgage lending represents just a tiny slice of the mortgage market, although the activity is growing rapidly. Guy D. Cecala, publisher of trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance, estimates hard-money loans will account for about 1% of the 5.5 million mortgages expected to be originated this year. But he says activity in that sector is up sharply from a few years ago, when very few hard-money loans were originated.

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Brandon Thibodeaux for The Wall Street Journal
Keith Borg took a ‘hard-money’ loan for a home he bought in Dallas.

Some critics compare hard-money lenders to predatory subprime lenders, lightly regulated operations that cater to people desperate for money. NeighborWorks America, a nonprofit housing organization, urges consumers to ask an unbiased housing or credit counselor to study the rates and terms to make sure they aren’t predatory.

But others say these private lenders fill an important void. Robert and Yvonne Fassett used a hard-money loan last year to restructure their finances after a kitchen-cabinet distribution business they owned for 30 years suffered in the downturn, ruining their credit. The couple received a one-year, $120,000 loan with a 12% interest rate secured by the equity in a vacation home in Key Largo, Fla. They used the funds to pay off the vacation home and cover mortgage payments on their primary home in Teaneck, N.J., until they could find a buyer. “They rescued me. It bought us a little escape plan,” says Mr. Fassett, 59. “The fees and interest rate were no doubt higher than a bank, but it was well worth it since no bank was willing to listen.”

For the most part, hard-money mortgage lenders must follow the same rules as traditional mortgage players, such as abiding by truth-in-lending rules, which require lenders to be upfront about the loan’s length and cost. States also regulate the industry.

More

Developments: Explaining the Methods of Hard-Money Lenders
Seminars and training videos are popping up to teach would-be hard-money mortgage lenders the tricks of the trade. Leonard Rosen, a former financial news anchor, is charging between $595 and $995 for a spot at his “Pitbull Mortgage School,” a one-day seminar held twice a year. The next one, scheduled for later this month in Las Vegas, has sold 286 of the 300 available seats so far, he says.

Bess Hoffman became a hard-money mortgage lender to supplement her retirement income. In the past three years, the 72-year-old has taken more than $250,000 out of money-market accounts and CDs to fund 13 loans that she says have delivered a 14% annual return, compared with 2010’s 11% rise for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

For borrowers who have been turned away by banks, hard-money can provide a chance to take advantage of opportunities in the market. Ever since mortgage defaults surged after the housing crash, banks have been reluctant to lend to certain types of borrowers, including investors.

Keith Borg, a 26-year-old Dallas accountant, has taken out two hard-money loans totaling nearly $200,000 with Longhorn III Investments LLC, a four-year-old, Dallas-based hard-money lender and brokerage. For the first loan, he borrowed $95,000 to purchase a foreclosed home that he rented out for $1,125 a month. Several months later, he refinanced into a traditional 30-year mortgage.

Other borrowers seeking hard-money loans are self-employed individuals who can’t fully document their incomes and people with low credit scores, whose mortgage applications these days are routinely rejected by banks.

Judith and Allan Cunningham are a case in point. Allan lost his job as a college professor several years ago and fell behind on his credit-card payments, which lowered his credit score. But recently, the couple took out a $69,000 hard-money loan for the purchase of a $137,000 three-bedroom home in Sunrise, Fla. At 11% interest, the monthly payments are $1,100 for three years. When the loan comes due, Mr. Cunningham hopes to have a job and improved credit. “It’s expensive, very expensive, but if you really want to have your own home, and your credit is not up to par, it’s the only way to go,” he said.

Typically, hard-money lenders are matched with borrowers through loan brokers, who make a commission on each deal. Most loans are short-term, lasting a few months or as long as several years. Some are set up with low monthly payments and a balloon payment due at the end of the loan term.

When the loan comes due, borrowers either refinance into a conventional mortgage, flip the property to pay off the loan or, if those measure fail, extend the hard-money loan. “The hard-money loan is an interim loan,” says Sophie Lapointe, a co-owner of Five Star Mortgage in Las Vegas, which doesn’t do hard-money loans.

Lenders say that defaults are low, in part because borrowers have plenty of equity tied up in the properties themselves.

Write to Dawn Wotapka at dawn.wotapka@dowjones.com

Original Article: http://professional.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424053111904233404576458514107499084-lMyQjAxMTAxMDIwMTEyNDEyWj.html

24 Aug 2011

States Where No One Wants To Buy A New Home

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Blog 8/22/2011

by Douglas A. McIntyre and Charles Stockdale

There is a strong indication that home builders have almost ceased activity in several states as demand for newly built homes has dwindled. The slowdown in new home permits is particularly stark when compared to the total number of existing homes in each state. 24/7 Wall St. examined the number of building permits to find the states where no one wants to buy a new home.

Building permits are among the carefully watched statistics issues by the real estate industry each month. Permits are needed in most jurisdictions before individuals or contractor can begin physical work. Therefore, they are a reasonable indicator of future home construction. The data on permits is issued by the Commerce Department.

Building permit activity has fallen in most months since the 2007 housing crash — one that continues today. In the first half of 2005, slightly over one million permits were issued. By contrast, the number was the just below 300,000 for the first six months of this year. The decline in new permits in some states is over 80% for the same period.

Building permits are not enough in and of themselves to demonstrate a slowdown. Their size in relation to the total existing homes is also an indication of the state of the housing market. Consider that in a large state like California, across all towns and cities, just over 20,000 permits were issued during the first six months of this year. The number of permits may seem like a lot for a weak housing market, but is negligible when compared to the 13.6 million existing homes in the state.

24/7 Wall St. looked at the total number of building permits issued by each state for the first half of the year. We then identified the states that had the lowest percentage of new housing permits as compared to the total number of housing units.

Surprisingly, our list of states where few permits have been issued recently is different from the typical list of the worst housing markets. California, Nevada and Florida are always on those lists because homes are vacant and home values continue to drop. But the three are not on this list. It may be that prices have dropped so low in these markets that home inventory has begun to move, even if only tentatively. Instead, markets where housing permits are very small in relation to total homes are markets in which builders have abandoned any hope of near-term sales.

The 24/7 Wall St. analysis is another look through the prism that is the collapsing residential real estate market. Most data the public sees is based on home prices, number of homes sold or foreclosures. Housing permits are a way to look ahead at what is likely to happen in the markets in the next year. Once a permit is issued, the builder has no obligation to begin or complete the construction. This additional risk has a compounding effect.

These are the states where no one wants to buy a new home:

1. Rhode Island
Building permits/total housing units: 0.07%
Decline in building permits (2005-2011): -70.81% (22nd largest)
Building permits 2011 YTD: 312
Total housing units: 463,388

Foreclosure filings increased 4% in Rhode Island from the first six months of 2010 to the first six months of 2011, according to RealtyTrac. Foreclosures dropped by 29% for that same period on the national level. Rhode Island home sales decreased 20% from one year ago in the second-quarter, according to the Rhode Island Association of Realtors. Additionally, median home prices have dropped 2%. These numbers indicate that Rhode Island’s housing market is not recovering at the same pace as the majority of the country. For the first six months of this year, the state has issued a mere 312 building permits, the smallest number in the country.

2. West Virginia
Building permits/total housing units: 0.09%
Decline in building permits (2005-2011): -72.71% (17th largest)
Building permits 2011 YTD: 774
Total housing units: 881,917

West Virginia’s decline in building permits has slowed to almost a crawl. In the first six months of 2005, the state issued almost 3,000 permits. For the first half of 2011, that amount decreased to 774. If every permit were to result in a new housing structure, those homes would represent less than 0.1% of the total housing units in the state. Despite all this, construction is one area that is benefiting the state. According to the organization, WorkForce West Virginia, 700 construction jobs were added in-state this past July — the largest amount of jobs added in the private sector.

3. Illinois
Building permits/total housing units: 0.09%
Decline in building permits (2005-2011): -84.18% (3rd largest)
Building permits 2011 YTD: 4,897
Total housing units: 5,296,715

Illinois has seen an almost 85% decrease in new housing permits since 2005. This is the third largest drop in the country. There are a number of initiatives being made across the state to improve the housing markets. In Chicago, for instance, Mayor Emanuel has made a number of changes to increase the speed with which building permits are issued. Additionally, a Ã?Â?Micro-Market Recovery Program has been introduced to slow the city’s foreclosure rate.

4. Michigan
Building permits/total housing units: 0.09
Decline in building permits (2005-2011): -82.19% (7th largest)
Building permits 2011 YTD: 4,250
Total housing units: 4,532,233

Michigan is one of the states that has suffered the most from the recession. The state’s unemployment rate peaked around 15% in 2010. It is now at 10.5%, which is still significantlyhigher than the national average of 9.2%. The state has a vacancy rate of just under 15%, which is one of the highest in the country. New building permits have also decreased by over 80% since 2005, also one of the highest rates in the country. The state may now be more focused on tearing down old buildings than building new ones.

5. Connecticut
Building permits/total housing units: 0.09%
Decline in building permits(2005-2011): -74.06% (14th largest)
Building permits 2011 YTD: 1,403
Total housing units: 1,487,891

Connecticut has had one of the greatest declines in the number of new building permits in the country. This trend saw a small turnaround in June — the first monthly year-over-year gain in 2011 in new construction, according to the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. However, the Hartford Courant reports that for the first six months of the year, residential construction was down 30 percent compared with the same period in 2010. June was also the first increase in home construction in five years.

6. Ohio
Building permits/total housing units: 0.12%
Decline in building permits (2005-2011): -76.61% (12th largest)
Building permits 2011 YTD: 6,184
Total housing units: 5,127,508

Ohio has suffered, and continues to suffer, greatly from the housing crisis. Over 8,000 homes were foreclosed in July 2011, the ninth-largest amount in the country, according to real estate company RealtyTrac. With such a high foreclosure rate, currently at one in every 608 housing units, housing is already too inexpensive for people to want to build. Ohio has therefore had one of the greatest decreases in building permits in the country over the past six years. Median existing home sales are also down in many areas of the state, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. In Toledo, prices are down 17% from one year ago, the third largest rate in the country.

7. Massachusetts
Building permits/total housing units: 0.12%
Decline in building permits (2005-2011): 69.55% (24th smallest)
Building permits 2011 YTD: 3,402
Total housing units: 2,808,254

Despite having a healthy economy compared to much of the country, Massachusetts’ housing market is beginning to face serious troubles. In June 2011, sales of single-family homes in the state decreased 23.5% from the year before, reaching the lowest level since 1991, according to the Warren Group, a New England real estate research firm. With so few home sales, it follows that not many new homes are being built. Year-to-date, building permits for 2011 are about one quarter of what they were in 2005.

8. New York
Building permits/total housing units: 0.14%
Decline in building permits (2005-2011): -61.85% (12th smallest)
Building permits 2011 YTD: 11,033
Total housing units: 8,108,103

New York State’s housing market is among the largest in the country. As a result, the number of permits is minuscule when compared to the state’s total housing units. Although new home sales decreased in the first half of 2011 from 2010, the number of permits actually increased slightly during that period, from 10,189 in 2010. This is significantly lower than 2005’s 28,921 permits.

9. Maine
Building permits/total housing units: 0.14%
Decline in building permits (2005-2011): -77.09% (11th largest)
Building permits 2011 YTD: 1,000
Total housing units: 721,830

Maine has seen one of the largest decreases in building permits in the past six years. This is not surprising as home sales in general declined substantially. Home sales for June 2011 decreased 21.39% from June 2010, according to the Maine Association of Realtors. The state’s median sales price also decreased 1.37% over this same period. According to numbers from the Census Bureau, Maine has the highest vacancy rate in the country, reaching 22.8% in 2010. However, this number also includes empty vacation houses.

10. Pennsylvania
Building permits/total housing units: 0.15%
Decline in building permits (2005-2011): -60.29% (11th smallest)
Building permits 2011 YTD: 8,136
Total housing units: 5,567,315

At the beginning of 2011, a number of new, restrictive building codes went into effect in Pennsylvania. This caused a rush among builders to secure permits, with housing permits increasing a massive 117.8% between November and December 2010, according to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve. The state’s housing market has not been doing well since. Permits issued from January to June 2011 fell 16% compared to the same six-month period one year earlier. The national average for permits issued in the first six months of 2011 compared to the first six months of 2011 is a decrease of 6%.

Original article: http://finance.yahoo.com/real-estate/article/113351/states-no-one-buys-new-home-247?mod=realestate-buy

29 Jun 2011

BUSINESS IN VIRGINIA

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Richmond, Virginia Photo: George Diebold | Photographer’s Choice | Getty Images

Yes, Virginia.

The Old Dominion State returns as America’s Top State for Business in 2011, and we’re starting to detect a pattern here.

Virginia topped our inaugural study in 2007 with Texas at number two. In 2008, they switched positions and Texas took the title. In 2009, it was Virginia/Texas. In 2010, it was Texas/Virginia.

This year, Virginia powers back to the top spot with the best overall score in the history of our study — 1,660 out of 2,500 points. Texas slips back to number two with a respectable 1,578 points.

More from CNBC.com: Most Expensive States to Live In

States With the Biggest Jobless Rate Declines

America’s Top States for Business 2011

Trust us. We couldn’t have planned it this way, and if we could have, we might have mixed things up a bit.

Our fifth annual study once again puts all 50 states to the test, measuring them on 43 different metrics in 10 key categories of competitiveness. We weight those categories based on how frequently the states use them as selling points to attract business. That way, we hold the states to their own standards, and tell you how they measure up.

This year’s categories and weightings, for a total of 2,500 points, are:

• Cost of Doing Business (350 points)

• Workforce (350 points)

• Quality of Life (350 points)

• Infrastructure & Transportation (325 points)

• Economy (300 points)

• Education (225 points)

• Technology & Innovation (225 points)

• Business Friendliness (200 points)

• Access to Capital (100 points)

• Cost of Living (50 points)

Virginia is a perennial favorite with its strategic location, friendly business climate and diverse economy. It moved back on top this year thanks to marked improvements in a couple of key areas.

We found Virginia’s tax burden improved considerably, helping the state move up five places to number 21 in our all-important Cost of Doing Business Category.

In Education, Virginia jumps seven points to rank sixth, reflecting an effort begun in 2009 to reduce class sizes.

But not all is rosy in Virginia. The state fell eight spots to number 26 in Quality of Life, which, among other things, measures healthcare. The number of uninsured residents in Virginia has risen steadily in recent years.

Virginia lost some ground in the Workforce category as well, dropping three places to number 12. But that was mainly because an improving unemployment rate is shrinking the pool of available workers.

Still, Virginia did what it does best—and has done in each year of our study: It turned in a solid all-around performance, with top ten finishes in five categories (Infrastructure & Transportation at number 10, Economy at number 8, the aforementioned 6th place in Education, second in Business Friendliness and tenth in Access to Capital).

Texas Two-Step

So what happened to Texas, which was gunning for a repeat as America’s Top State for Business?

While the state improved or stayed the same in seven out of ten categories, it stumbled in three important ones: Cost of Doing Business (33rd this year versus 30th in 2010), Quality of Life (32nd, down from 29th), and most notably Economy, where the top-ranked economy four years in a row plunged to 14th this year on the weight of a nagging budget crisis.

The state has been struggling to close a $13.4 billion budget gap for the 2012 fiscal year—one of the worst in the nation as measured by the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Texas adopts its budgets two years at a time, and the 2011 legislative session has been a gut-wrenching affair. While Gov. Rick Perry and the state legislature have so far managed to avoid raising taxes or dipping into the state’s rainy day fund for 2012-13, the crisis is forcing severe cuts in state services, including education. But that’s not the only area where the Texas economy has suffered.

Texas no longer leads the nation in Fortune 500 companies headquartered there. In fact, the state comes in third, with 51 major companies headquartered in Texas compared with 57 last year. Some of that is the result of mergers, like Fort Worth-based Burlington Northern Santa Fe being acquired by Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway spacer, and Houston-based Continental Airlines spacer merging with Illinois-based United.

But other Texas companies simply saw their fortunes decline, like Dallas-based Blockbuster and Irving-based industrial equipment-maker Flowserve.

Nonetheless, Texas remains a business powerhouse. It remains tops in Infrastructure & Transportation, and ranks 4th in Technology & Innovation. And a surge in investment helped Texas jump to 4th place in Access to Capital from 7th place in 2010.

If Virginia and Texas seem to have the top two spots locked up year after year, the rest of our rankings are a lot less predictable.

Top Five And Honorable Mention

Take Georgia, which joins our Top Five for the first time in four years. Adding to its typically strong finishes in Workforce (4th place), Infrastructure & Transportation (second place) and Cost of Living (9th place), Georgia moved into the top half of the states in Education (22nd place, versus 28th last year).

Massachusetts drops out of the Top Five this year, finishing at number six overall. The Bay State lost ground in our Workforce category because of a shrinking pool of available workers. And the state’s vaunted Education system slipped a bit — to 4th place from first — because school class sizes increased relative to other states.

Ohio is this year’s most improved state, jumping eleven places to 23rd overall thanks to a huge improvement in Cost of Doing Business. Ohio improved to 5th place in our most important category, from 29th place last year. A multi-year effort to reform the tax code in the Buckeye State is paying off with a tax structure that welcomes new investment. At the same time, wages have fallen in Ohio relative to other states. That helps businesses on the cost side, but workers suffer.

The biggest overall decline came in New Jersey, which fell eight spots this year to 30th place overall largely because of the state’s budget situation—one of the worst in the nation, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. New Jersey is no garden spot when it comes to the Economy, which ranked 42nd in our study this year.

Our decision to consider each state’s fiscal situation in our rankings this year also led to a change at the bottom for 2011.

For the first time, Alaska — which ends fiscal 2011 with nearly $12 billion to spare in the state’s coffers — does not come in last. Instead, Alaska finishes 49th this year, and Rhode Island drops to number 50.

Top 10 States for Business
1. Virginia
2. Texas
3. North Carolina
4. Georgia
5. Colorado
6. Massachusetts
7. Minnesota
8. Utah
9. Iowa
10. Nebraska

21 Jun 2011

Recently asked questions

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Weekly Blog 6/20/2011

I had an outpouring of inquiries regarding the Hampton Roads Real Estate Market, Hard Money Lending Guidelines, Hard Money Loans and General Real Estate Market questions during the past week. I wanted to take a moment to answer some of the most frequently
asked questions.

Here are the top 10 questions submitted this week:

10. Do you have any pre-payment penalty on any of your Hampton Roads hard money loan
programs?

No, you only pay for the interest you use on your hard money loan. Any unused interest is credited back to you.

9. Will you lend outside of the Hampton Roads Area?

Yes, although Hampton Roads, Virginia is our primary base of business, we also lend up to Richmond, VA and down to the North Carolina Border.

8. Are people still “flipping” houses in the Hampton Roads area?

Yes, the volume is still there, although the people doing it have shrunk. Before, everyone was “flipping”. Now I see that the majority of investors are the ones with past experience with Hard Money Lenders.

7. What does a “No Doc” Hard Money Loan mean?

“No Doc” means that the borrower or client does not need to qualify for the loan. The Hard Money Loan is based strictly off the ARV of the subject property.

6. What is different about Mortgage Consulting, LLC’s Hard Money Loan compared to other Hard Money Lender’s?

The main difference is that many Hard Money Lenders are out of business in Hampton Roads, Virginia. The other main difference is that many Hard Money Lenders in Hampton Roads require certain credit or down payments. Mortgage Consulting, LLC has several Hard Money Loan programs to fit many client’s needs.

5. I don’t qualify for any of your Hard Money Loan programs, but I have a great property in Hampton Roads and want to do a deal.

Mortgage Consulting, LLC will do everything possible to help you qualify for a loan. However, if you don’t qualify and have a property of interest in Hampton Roads, we can make it work by doing a Joint Venture deal.

4. How much are the weekly inspection fees?

There are no weekly inspection, draw or consultation fees of any kind at any time.Conni und Co 2 – Rettet die Kanincheninsel 2017 film trailer

3. I don’t qualify for a loan; can I bring on a partner?

Absolutely!

2. What upfront costs are there?

Mortgage Consulting, LLC does not charge any upfront cost for any Hard Money Loan in Hampton Roads or the surrounding Virginia area. The only cost the client incurs is the fee for the independent, third party appraisal. The cost is usually approximately $350.00, which is paid directly to the appraiser.

And the number one question this week….

How do I get started?

Give us a call and tell us what you are looking to do and how we can help!

Happy Investing!

Ryan Lawrence

Mortgage Consulting, LLC

Hampton Roads Hard Money Lender

varehabloans.com

09 Jun 2011

Hampton Roads Real Estate Trends, Private and Hard Money Lending

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Hampton Roads Virginia Real Estate Trends

Private and Hard Money Lending

The Hampton Roads, Virginia real estate market is very different than most markets in the country. With a military installation close to 400K and a “revolving door” of new military families, the market is a dream for real estate investors. The Hampton Roads real estate market continues showing signs of stabilizing and strengthening. The number of residential settled sales and under contract sales maintained positive trends while the number of active listings for sale slowed its climb. The number of distressed property sales continues to grow. The media reports trouble, but the real estate investor sees opportunity. The more distressed properties, means more opportunities.

Don’t allow the media to distort the facts. February 2011 saw solid gains in the number of residential settled sales, up 9% when compared to February 2010. However, the Hampton Roads market seems to be divided between the Southside region and the Peninsula when it comes to settled sales last month. The Southside region saw an increase of 16% year-over-year while the Peninsula was down 8.5% for the month. All of the major cities in the Southside area showed year-over-year monthly gains in the number of settled sales. Only James City County experienced significant growth in the Peninsula region, up 11.5% when compared to February last year. The one area of the residential market that continues to show weakness is the distressed homes sector. The number of distressed homes, those that are bank owned or short sales, that settled in February 2011 climbed for the third month in a row to 42% of resale residential settled sales. This is the largest percentage for a single month since the tracking of distressed sales began. The percentage has climbed steadily starting in 2008 and has doubled from 21% in May 2010 to the current 42%. The Hampton Roads market (Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Hampton, Newport News, and Williamsburg) is primed and ready for investors to take advantage of the market. However, there is one BIG problem that all investors know when it comes to buying these distressed properties….Where do I get the money to buy them?

Banks and conventional lenders do not lend money on investment properties that are distressed and need improvements. Banks do have 203K loans that give the borrower purchase and construction funds, but the 203K loan is only for owner occupied properties only. They have no interest in investor rehab loans as they are considered too high of a risk. So what is the average investor supposed to do to break into the real estate market? You have two choices. 1. Liquidate all of your assets to come up with the cash to buy and fix up real estate. 2. Use Private or Hard Money Lenders. Number one could be financial suicide, so let’s focus on Private, Hard Money Loans.

What are Private Hard Money Lenders? Private Lending and Hard Money Lending are often intertwined, which is fairly correct. When people speak of Private Money Loans, they are speaking of money supplied by a Private Group or Investor that do not follow SEC, Bank, or Conventional guidelines. Hard Money Loans are typically based off the asset (The Property). Hard Money Lenders typically do not base their underwriting decisions on the borrower. Hard Money Lenders use the asset to protect their investment. These loans are based on commercial guidelines, which fall outside the state and federal laws of traditional lending. There are many different types of Private/Hard Money Lenders and Loan Programs out there. Some require down payments, certain credit scores, tax returns, asset statements, LTV (Loan to Value) limits, ARV (After Repair Value) limits. These are some of the things you need to investigate when choosing which hard money lender you are going to use.

Mortgage Consulting, LLC has been in the Hampton Roads (Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Hampton, Newport News, and Williamsburg) and also the Richmond, VA area since 2006. Mortgage Consulting, LLC provides Private and Hard Money Lending, Loan Consulting, Conventional Lending Consulting, Short Sale Negotiations, Real Estate Agent Services, and Construction Services. Mortgage Consulting, LLC is considered a Hard Money lender as we can do loans based on only the asset, with no credit or income required. Mortgage Consulting, LLC is also considered a Private Money Lender because the funds provided to clients are from private sources. So Mortgage Consulting, LLC is considered both a Private Money Lender and a Hard Money Lender. To learn more about Mortgage Consulting, LLC go to varehabloans.com

How do I get started as a Real Estate Investor? First you need to get proof of funds showing that you can purchase properties. Sellers, Banks, and Real Estate Agents will want to see this to ensure you are serious and not wasting their time. Get in touch with a private and/or hard money lender in Hampton Roads, Virginia to discuss what lending options they have for you. Second, get a real estate agent to help you sort through the Hampton Roads real estate inventory. You will want to look for distressed properties that you can fix up and sell. You will need to find properties that have the potential to create at least 30% equity after it is rehabbed. This is called the ARV (After Repair Value). For example, if a property is going to be worth 100K once it is rehabbed, you need to be able to buy and fix it up for less than 70K. You also need to make sure that the property need “substantial” rehab work. This is because you need to ensure that you can justify the new value, because of the substantial work that has been completed.

Reach out to varehabloans.com to get started as they will be able to consult you at no charge and let you know what options you have and/or what direction you need to go in.