When Is a Real Estate Agent a REALTOR®? A real estate agent is a REALTOR® when he or she becomes a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, The Voice for Real Estate®, the world’s largest professional association. The term “REALTOR®” is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and abides by its strict Code of Ethics. Founded in 1908, NAR has grown from its original nucleus of 120 members to more than 1 million today. NAR is composed of REALTORS® who are involved in residential and commercial real estate as brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors, and others who are engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry. Members belong to one or more of 1,700 local associations/boards and 54 state and territory associations of REALTORS® and can join one of our many institutes, societies, and councils. Additionally, NAR offers members the opportunity to be active in our appraisal and international real estate specialty sections. REALTORS® are pledged to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. Working for America’s property owners, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® provides a facility for professional development, research, and exchange of information among its members. Check out the Public Awareness Campaign television and radio spotsthat encourage consumers to rely on the expertise and integrity of REALTORS®. The NAR advertising campaign runs February through November on network and cable television and network and satellite radio, helping consumers understand the real value of working with REALTORS®. From their voluntary adherence to a Code of Ethics to their incomparable knowledge of real estate processes, REALTORS® are the experts of residential and commercial property transactions. Santa Realty are REALTORS located in the Farmington Valley, proudly serving all of Hartford County, and surrounding areas. Contact the #1 Real Estate Company in CT today for all of your real estate needs!
5 Secrets Your Contractor Doesn’t Want You to Know You’ve asked friends to recommend great contractors, picked your favorite, checked references — and maybe even conducted an online background check on his business. So you know you’ve found a top-notch guy for your home improvement project. But remember that his bottom line is getting you to sign a contract, and he’s not going to mention anything that might get in the way. Before you make a commitment, here’s what you need to know in order to protect your own bottom line. 1. He’s desperate for your business As tough as the economy has been overall, the construction industry has been in far worse shape. While the national unemployment rate has hovered around 8%, for construction workers it’s been a whopping 17% and higher. What you should do: It doesn’t mean you should play hardball with your contractor on his price (because he might cut corners on the job if you do), but if you ask for an itemized bid, and explain that you’re getting them from a few contractors, he’s going to sharpen his pencil and give you his most competitive price. 2. He’s going to farm out the work General contractors often don’t do the physical work themselves. They might have been carpenters or plumbers, but now that they run their own businesses, they’ve retired their tool belts. Instead, their role is to sign clients, manage budgets, and schedule a cast of subcontractors. When he’s trying to win your business, a contractor can be pretty vague about how involved he’s going to be — and who will be running the job day-to-day. What you should do: Inquire who will be in charge of the jobsite. Ask to meet the job foreman, preferably while he’s at work on a current jobsite. “Maybe he’s a chain smoker or doesn’t speak English or who knows what?” says Stockbridge, Mass., contractor Jay Rhind. “You want to make sure you feel comfortable with him.” 3. A big deposit is unnecessary — and possibly illegal When you sign a contract, you’re usually expected to pay a deposit. But that’s not for covering the contractor’s initial materials or set-up costs. If his business is financially sound and he’s in good standing with his suppliers, he shouldn’t need to pay for anything up front. In fact, many states limit a contractor’s advance. California maxes out deposits at 10% of the job cost, or $1,000 — whichever is smaller. What you should do: If your contractor is asking for, say, 25%-30% of a job that’s not even due to start for a while, offer to give a more nominal amount (5%-10%) with the contract and the rest on the day the work commences. 4. He’s not only marking up labor, but materials too No contractor wants to talk about it, but he’s going to mark up everything he pays out to make your job happen. That’s fair; it’s how he pays his own overhead and salary. Keep it in mind that the 10% to 20% mark-up applies not just to materials but labor costs, too. What you should do: If you can handle buying items such as plumbing fixtures, cabinets, countertops, and flooring, ask your contractor to take them out of his bid price. Be sure to agree on specific numbers and amounts of what you’ll be buying, and that you’ll have the items to the jobsite when they’re needed. You could save 10%-20% or more from what your contractor might charge. 5. He’s not the design whiz he claims to be Sure, there are contractors who have strong design abilities. Chances are, however, they’re spending a lot more time running their businesses than honing their design chops. What you should do: Don’t count on a contractor to design your space and add clever details, unless he clearly demonstrates his abilities and has a portfolio of his own designs. Ask his references specifically about his design skills. Otherwise, you’re better off hiring an architect for overall planning, and a kitchen and bath designer for the details. The cost of those design professionals usually is compensated by efficient planning and problem-free design work.
Home Buyers With Foreclosures On Their Credit Get Back In The Game Real Estate News There’s an interesting phenomenon happening in the real estate buying cycle. Now that most of the country is five to seven years out from its real estate peak, and most major cities are actually into the upswing of home prices, distressed homeowners of yesteryear are becoming the home buyers of today. Rules for qualifying for a mortgage vary widely between lenders and loan programs, but one of the most-often used loans today is the FHA mortgage. Today’s FHA mortgage requirements for foreclosures and bankruptcies (see your lender for exact details): A foreclosure that was discharged three years ago A bankruptcy discharged two years ago The initial reaction by many to this situation is: Again? We’ve certainly all seen enough shoddy lending and lax credit practices during the last boom-bust cycle and, on the face of it, this seems like an invitation to more. However, the details of how these home buyers must qualify diverges widely from the way sub-prime home buyers were qualifying for loans in the past. The new practices, while still generous to the buyer, create far greater protections for the lender and the American public who, in the long run, foot the bill for defaults. Home buyers with foreclosures and bankruptcies on their records need to show a consistent history of pristine credit since the time of their foreclosure. Additional FHA requirements (there are more, refer to a lender): On-time bill payment on all credit accounts since the foreclosure/bankruptcy A 640 credit score (responsible credit use is absolutely essential to gain this score 3 years out of foreclosure) A verified down payment (3.5% or higher, depending on the borrower) Upfront and ongoing mortgage insurance (which protects the lender from debts in case the buyer defaults) Significantly lower debt-to-income ratios (ensures the buyer has ample discretionary income to make payments long-term) Underwriters scrutinize these borrowers’ loan applications far more than an average home buyer. In contrast, during the real estate boom, a buyer could be approved for a mortgage with very little credit history to support it. Sub-prime mortgage approvals at the height of the real estate boom: 580 credit score 100% Financing or 80/20 1st/2nd mortgages (no money down) Foreclosure 2 years out Bankruptcy 2 years out No income verification Total debt ratios up to 60% While the changes in lending to borrowers who have past foreclosures and bankruptcies may not satisfy all critics, there are also mitigating factors that underwriters take into consideration. Remember that even though a home buyer’s past foreclosure may have been closed as of three years ago, the banks sometimes take up to a couple of years to push a foreclosure through. That person may have essentially handed the home back to the bank five years ago and been repairing their credit ever since. Underwriters can take this into account. Moreover, there are many different situations that lead to foreclosure. Certainly some buyers overspent, got in over their heads, and walked away from a bad investment. Those are going to be viewed less favorably by a lender. Others have lost their homes due to job loss, divorce, deaths in the family, and a host of other reasons. When an underwriter can see that home buyers have been responsible with credit in every instance of their lives except for under one unforeseen loss of income or spouse, there is great reason to believe that these people, under the newer, more restrictive lending guidelines, are a good credit risk. The lender and the public are protected by these buyers paying for mortgage insurance, and their re-introduction to the housing market in a new economy will allow them to re-establish a long-term credit track record and keep the housing market moving. Contact Santa Realty, the top real estate broker in Connecticut for all of your real estate needs!
Owning a Rental Property Is ‘Sweet Spot’ in Market Daily Real Estate News | Thursday, February 07, 2013 Ultra-low mortgage rates mixed with housing affordability has made investing in a rental property pay off for investors. Many investors have eyed foreclosures, snagging them at rock-bottom prices, and turning them into rentals. Some home owners have also used the downturn in housing to purchase second homes and then rent out their first property, the Associated Press reports.Demand for rental housing remains strong. “In this market, at this point, it’s a sweet spot,” says Chris Princis, a senior executive at financial advisory firm Brook-Hollow Financial and owner of two rental properties in Chicago. “You’re getting the market where it’s just starting to rebound, but still at the bottom, with what’s looking to be a great recovery.” In earning a profit on a rental investment, Princis uses a formula: He charges 15 percent above monthly mortgage and maintenance costs. But it’s also important to know what comparable apartments are going for, and to be flexible in case you’re unable to find a tenant for months, experts note. The best investments for rentals typically prove to be in areas with a strong history of rental demand, such as neighborhoods near universities or homes in residential areas that are near schools to attract families. Source: “Got Cash, Good Credit? Experts Say Owning Rental Housing Can Pay Off Even as Market Recovers,” The Associated Press (Feb. 6, 2013) Santa Realty are rental experts in the Farmington Valley. We have rental properties of our own and have investors who also peruse the market for opportunities. Contact us today if you are seeking a rental property or looking for a rental! We are the top real estate company in the rental market in the Farmington Valley.
Affordability Options For First-Time Buyers Try fixer-uppers and smaller homes By Broderick Perkins First-time home buyers who want affordable homes may want to take a hard look at fixer-uppers, smaller homes and cheaper commutes to work to save on the costs of buying and owning a home. Real estate brokers say many home buyers expect more than they can afford in a home and once they start pounding the pavement for housing their disconnect could be discouraging. In an online survey of 150 of its brokers, Coldwell Banker discovered some disturbing trends among first-time home buyers. While nearly half of the Coldwell Banker brokers surveyed said affordability was the No. 1 concern for first time buyers, 81 percent of those buyers also consider move-in conditions to be very important when searching for homes. Only 7 percent are considering fixer-upper homes. The real estate company suggests more buyers should examine the fixer-upper option — among others — to get the affordability they seek. “In the past, first-time home buyers were willing to purchase older, more basic houses in an effort to save money and break into homeownership,” said Jim Gillespie, president and chief executive officer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC. “It is important for first-time homebuyers to remember that by considering a fixer-upper for their first home purchase, they can build equity over time and later move up and into their second-stage home that better reflects their expectations,” he added. Buyers looking for affordability who go with the fixer-upper option should get the home professionally inspected to determine what fixing up is necessary, and certainly not bite off more than they can chew. Even homes that need a basic face lift — paint, carpeting, landscaping, window treatments and other cosmetic touches — can come with big savings. Homes that may require professional upgrades cost even less, but the buyer has to weigh the discounted price against the cost of the improvement. Coldwell’s study also found some disconnect between affordability desires and what buyers want in home size and its location. The vast majority of first-time buyers, 71 percent, were looking for larger homes than they were 10 years ago, brokers reported, but bigger isn’t better when it comes to price. A smaller single-family home or a condo or townhome can be cheaper by virtue of the smaller footprint and square footage. The smaller cost on a smaller home also could come with affordability Forty-one percent of brokers also said, for their buyers, proximity to their workplace was numero uno when it came to considerations made when looking for a home. Higher gasoline prices have made the job center location factor even more crucial, however, in most metros, a home’s proximity to employment centers comes with an added cost. Homes nearer job centers cost more because of the added value of reduced transportation costs and time (which is money) spent commuting. However, buyers can enjoy the best of both worlds if they purchase a cheaper home away from job centers, but in a transit oriented development (TOD) or other distant community that offers low-cost public transit to work. Carpooling, trip sharing and car sharing communities boost the idea of affordable housing. Coldwell Banker also said 46 percent of the survey respondents reported that first-time home buyers look at five to 10 homes, on average, before making a purchase. The message is simple here. Spend more time looking at more homes for sale. Instead of five to 10, make it 10 to 20. Take the time to find affordability. Discounts were more likely available from homes that had been on the market for 90 days or more; homes for sale that were owned by long-time owners; homes for sale from flipping investors down on their luck; and properties owned by we-want-to-sell-real-estate banks who now know what it means to be careful what you wish for. While nearly half of the Coldwell Banker brokers surveyed said affordability was the No. 1 concern for first time buyers, 81 percent of those buyers also consider move-in conditions to be very important when searching for homes. Only 7 percent are considering fixer-upper homes. However, buyers can enjoy the best of both worlds if they purchase a cheaper home away from job centers, but in a transit oriented development (TOD) or other distant community that offers low-cost public transit to work. Carpooling, trip sharing and car sharing communities boost the idea of affordable housing. Coldwell Banker also said 46 percent of the survey respondents reported that first-time home buyers look at five to 10 homes, on average, before making a purchase. The message is simple here. Spend more time looking at more homes for sale. Instead of five to 10, make it 10 to 20. Take the time to find affordability. Discounts were more likely available from homes that had been on the market for 90 days or more; homes for sale that were owned by long-time owners; homes for sale from flipping investors down on their luck; and properties owned by we-want-to-sell-real-estate banks who now know what it means to be careful what you wish for. The real estate company suggests more buyers should examine the fixer-upper option — among others — to get the affordability they seek. “In the past, first-time home buyers were willing to purchase older, more basic houses in an effort to save money and break into homeownership,” said Jim Gillespie, president and chief executive officer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC. “It is important for first-time homebuyers to remember that by considering a fixer-upper for their first home purchase, they can build equity over time and later move up and into their second-stage home that better reflects their expectations,” he added. Buyers looking for affordability who go with the fixer-upper option should get the home professionally inspected to determine what fixing up is necessary, and certainly not bite off more than they can chew. Even homes that need a basic face lift — paint, carpeting, landscaping, window treatments and other cosmetic touches — can come with big savings. Homes that may require professional upgrades cost even less, but the buyer has to weigh the discounted price against the cost of the improvement. Coldwell’s study also found some disconnect between affordability desires and what buyers want in home size and its location. The vast majority of first-time buyers, 71 percent, were looking for larger homes than they were 10 years ago, brokers reported, but bigger isn’t better when it comes to price. A smaller single-family home or a condo or townhome can be cheaper by virtue of the smaller footprint and square footage. The smaller cost on a smaller home also could come with affordability Forty-one percent of brokers also said, for their buyers, proximity to their workplace was numero uno when it came to considerations made when looking for a home. Higher gasoline prices have made the job center location factor even more crucial, however, in most metros, a home’s proximity to employment centers comes with an added cost. Homes nearer job centers cost more because of the added value of reduced transportation costs and time (which is money) spent commuting. Copyright © byRealty Times To meet with Santa Realty, the #1 realtor in Connecticut, pick up the phone and call Rick or Kristina today!
Buyers have the advantage in this shifting market By Rick Hazeltine Buyers are finally being able to take advantage of cooling trends in previously hot markets. Multiple offers are no longer being thrown at sellers as soon as the For Sale sign hits the front yard. Competition has dwindled in many areas as investors disappear and buyers take to the sidelines. Unless a buyer thinks his local market is headed for a big downturn, this could be the pause that allows him to get into the market with a few perks unheard of in recent years as a bonus. So how do you know what shape your market is in? Economists believe that real estate is closely tied to employment, so if you’re in an area of growing employment, don’t expect to see double-digit depreciation anytime soon. In areas such as the Midwest, where auto manufacturing is king, prices have fallen sharply and will likely continue until the industry rebounds. Here are 10 things buyers need to know to negotiate the best deal in a market shifting to their favor: 1. Human nature is the biggest problem for sellers and buyers to overcome in a changing market. Prices stagnate or drop a few percentage points and it’s amazing how different buyers and sellers react. Sellers still think their house is “special” and immune to the market. Buyers figure every seller is about to be foreclosed on and make ridiculous low-ball offers. Smart buyers do their homework, know what size home they need, how much they can afford and then search the market for what they want and negotiate fairly. 2. When you make an offer, know the recent comparable sales; it’s the best bargaining tool. “See what’s going on out there,’’ says Beverly Durham of ReMax Gold Coast Realty in Camarillo, Calif., where entry-level single-family homes begin at $500,000. “Make an offer $10,000 to $15,000 under what the last one sold. Even in this market, if you insult your seller, they won’t want to deal with you. Sellers know what the last one sold for. You want them to at least look at your offer.” 3. Find out as much as you can about the seller’s motivation — retirement, job, divorce, wants to move up but only if he gets the right price. Durham says if a buyer knows the seller’s motivation they can negotiate a better deal or move on to the next property. 4. Multiple Listing Service (MLS) properties usually state what the seller owes. If not, your agent should be able to track down the figures. There’s a big difference in negotiating with an owner who owes more than the house is worth and one who has a lot of built-up equity. 5. “After 45 to 60 days the seller is usually absolutely sick of keeping their house spotless and sick of people walking through,’’ said Durham. This is when a seller may be the most anxious about selling their house as traffic to their house has likely fallen sharply. 6. Unless you’re incredibly handy and have time and cash, go after houses that are as updated as you can afford. This is easier to do in a stagnant or falling market and fixers aren’t usually discounted enough to be worthwhile. 7. In a tighter market, it’s not too much to ask the seller to add the closing costs to the price of the house. It’s better to put 20 percent down and add the closing costs to the loan than put 15 percent down and pay the costs upfront. 8. Items to ask for that shouldn’t offend sellers are paying for new kitchen appliances or washer and dryer. Most sellers will be willing to do so to close the deal. Durham also says it’s OK to ask sellers to pay up to the first year of homeowner association dues. 9. Don’t request anything that requires quality workmanship. “Don’t ask them to paint,’’ Durham said. “They won’t do it the way you want. They’ll do a lousy job.’’ Also, don’t get carried away and ask for the entire store. Be reasonable. 10. Make sure to look at the big picture. In changing markets you should be planning to stay for at least five years, so don’t get caught up in a $2,000 price difference. Remember, the goal is to get the house you want to live in for some time, not to impress friends with how you worked the previous owner. Copyright © by Move, Inc. Get the Realtor.com Real Estate Search App for iPhone and for Android.
Tariffville Connecticut Real Estate & Tariffville CT Homes For Sale. Santa Realty is your top realtor in Tariffville, serving all of your real estate needs. Tariffville is a neighborhood and census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Simsbury in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 1,324 at the 2010 census. It is a popular location for whitewater paddlers who use the Farmington River. Part of the original mill village area is included in the Tariffville Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic district excludes newer development around West Point Terrace and Hayes Road, as well as properties along White Water Turn, Wooster Road, and Main Street Extension. The historic district is architecturally significant for preserving some evidence of early nineteenth century mill village characteristics (in retaining some old mill housing and street layout) and for also preserving later 19th century Greek Revival and Gothic Revival structures. In 1825 (or 1827), the Tariff Manufacturing Company built a carpet mill along the Farmington River, giving its name to the area. The company name came from the Tariff Act of 1824 which included protective tariffs for a number of products, including wool and cotton textiles. The area did not have sufficient housing for the workers, so the company built housing, some of which survives today. The carpet business survived for a few decades, but by 1867, the primary industry in the area was sorting and packing of tobacco. The tobacco business would continue as the chief industry through the 1930s. The first steel manufacturing plant in the country was established in Tariffville at a site on the Farmington River in 1727. To meet with Santa Realty, the #1 realtor and top real estate company in Tariffville, pick up the phone and call Rick or Kristina today!
Washington, DC, January 9, 2013 With 11 months of data reported, 2012 will clearly go down as a record year for favorable housing affordability conditions, and a great year for buyers who could get a mortgage, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR’s national Housing Affordability Index stood at 198.2 in November, based on the relationship between median home price, median family income and average mortgage interest rate. The higher the index, the greater the household purchasing power; recordkeeping began in 1970. An index of 100 is defined as the point where a median-income household has exactly enough income to qualify for the purchase of a median-priced existing single-family home, assuming a 20 percent downpayment and 25 percent of gross income devoted to mortgage principal and interest payments. For first-time buyers making small down payments, the affordability levels are relatively lower. For all of 2012, NAR projects the housing affordability index to be a record high 194, up from 186 in 2011, which was the previous record. November’s reading was 2.5 index points below October, but up 1.5 index points from a year earlier. Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, said home buyers are able to stay well within their means. “Although 2012 was highest on record, the excessively tight underwriting precluded many would-be homebuyers from locking-in generational low interest rates,” he said. “Rising home prices and a gradual uptrend in mortgage interest rates will offset improvements in family income, but 2013 likely will be the third best on record in terms of household buying power. A window of opportunity remains open for buyers who can qualify for a mortgage.” NAR projects the housing affordability index to average 160 during 2013, which means on a national basis that a median-income family would have 160 percent of the income needed to purchase a median-priced existing single-family home. Conditions vary widely, with the highest buying power in the Midwest. Even in the West, where the regional index is lower, they typical family is well positioned in most markets. NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif., said the minor erosion in affordability conditions moving forward could be mitigated by bank and regulatory policies. “Clearer rules from the government regarding future lawsuits and buybacks of Fannie and Freddie loans could encourage banks to use their massive cash holdings to originate more loans,” he said. “A more sensible lending environment that makes it easier for other financially qualified buyers to get a mortgage would allow many more households to enter the market, boosting home sales as much as 10 to 15 percent,” Thomas said. The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
Windsor Connecticut Real Estate & Windsor CT Homes For Sale. Santa Realty is your top realtor in Windsor, serving all of your real estate needs. Windsor is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States, and was the first English settlement in the state. It lies on the northern border of Connecticut’s capital, Hartford. The population of Windsor was 29,044 at the 2010 census. Poquonock is a northern area of Windsor that has its own zip code (06064) for post-office box purposes. Other areas in Windsor, which are not incorporated, include Rainbow and Hayden Station in the north, and Wilson and Deerfield in the south. The Day Hill Road area is known as Windsor’s Corporate Area, although other centers of business include New England Tradeport, Kennedy Industry Park and Kennedy Business Park, all near Bradley International Airport and the Addison Road Industrial Park. To meet with Santa Realty, the #1 realtor in Windsor, pick up the phone and call Rick or Kristina today!
Bloomfield Connecticut Real Estate & Bloomfield CT Homes For Sale Santa Realty is your top realtor in Bloomfield, serving all of your real estate needs. Bloomfield is a picturesque Connecticut village, graced with rural beauty, abundant land, quality schools,dynamic commercial building projects, and a highly educated work force. Homeowners value Bloomfield as a quiet, friendly haven from the big cities. Bloomfield also offers an unmatched opportunity for businesses seeking a strategic location in New England, with the largest tract of undeveloped industrial land in the Capitol Region, making Bloomfield the perfect place to build a dream home or an international headquarters. Santa Realty is also local to Bloomfield and is a great Bloomfield Real Estate company. Originally part of Windsor, the town of Bloomfield is rooted in a 1640 settlement known as Messenger Farms, located at the eastern end of what is now Park Avenue. By the time it was formally incorporated in 1835, the settlement had grown to over 900 residents. Traditionally an agricultural community, Bloomfield began to diversify its economic base following its incorporation. Tobacco was added to the agricultural list , as were numerous cider mills and a brandy distillery. The Prosser Inn on Simsbury Road housed headquarters of the Hartford to Wesfield stage line; and the Hartford to Tariffville stage line passed through the Town Center. Within thirty years of its incorporation, Bloomfield’s new rail service included eight trains traveling roundtrip to Harford daily, and was serviced by four stations in town. In 1891, The Hartford Electric Light Company brought Bloomfield into the 20th centrury, and by 1920 the town’s population had grown to over 2,000. Bloomfield is located in Central Connecticut, just 10 minutes west of the state capitol, Hartford. It is easily accessible to Bradley International Airport and interstates 84 and 91. The Town encompasses 26.4 square miles and has a population of 20,000 residents. To meet with Santa Realty, the #1 realtor in Bloomfield, pick up the phone and call Rick or Kristina today! Contact Santa Realty today for all of your East Granby real estate needs.