Tag Archives: home buying

HOA Super lien pose perils for home buyers

Could some of the nearly 67 million Americans who live in communities governed by homeowner associations — condominiums, master-planned developments, cooperatives and others — face much tougher underwriting and higher interest rates when they apply for a mortgage?

That is the looming threat from the mortgage industry in areas where state laws give community associations “super-priority” liens on dwellings whose owners have not paid their assessments.

Super-priority liens give a community association the power to initiate foreclosures and get first crack at the proceeds from the sale of a delinquent dwelling unit, ahead of the traditional first-lien position held by the mortgage lender. Twenty-two states plus the District of Columbia currently have authority for super liens on their books, and all 50 states recognize homeowner association liens.

Homeowner associations argue that, like property taxes for local governments, assessments or dues on units fund the essential operations of the community. They are crucial to maintain the community’s buildings, roadways, parks, recreation centers and other amenities. When unit owners fail to make the payments, the shortfall must be made up by the rest of the owners, often through higher assessments.

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Shedding Light on Homebuying

Real estate agents, who deal directly with buyers and sellers, are in a position to know firsthand what’s on the minds of both groups when it comes to home sales.

A new report from Redfin, the real estate brokerage, found buyers in the fourth quarter continued to be frustrated by the slim pickings among inventory, were willing to pay more than a seller’s asking price, and were willing to settle for less when it comes to home features.

Redfin’s national survey of 468 agents provides insight into a housing market that continues to experience tightening inventories, rising home prices and mortgage rates that continued to trend upward.

Most agents continued to think it’s a good time to buy a home (56 percent versus 55 percent in the third quarter), even if 63 percent believe sellers have “unrealistic expectations” about the value of their properties.

Among other findings:

• Eighty-seven percent of agents said limited inventory was buyers’ biggest challenge.

• Fewer agents think now is a good time to sell a home — 65 percent in the fourth quarter compared with 72 percent in the third quarter and 86 percent in the second quarter — even if the overwhelming majority still think the time is right.

• About 30 percent said buyers were “flexible on features” and were “prepared to waive contingencies” to win a bid.

The Redfin survey also found agents were concerned that rising interest rates would limit home sales, with 39 percent believing that if rates exceeded 5.5 percent sales and price growth would suffer. Other agents put the threshold at 6 percent.

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Creative Ways to Buy A House

Kevin and Patti Silva needed to buy a house – fast.

Along with their two children, three dogs and a cat, they had sold their house in Atlanta and were all packed, with the moving truck scheduled for late May, ready to move to the Bay Area for a job transfer.

When conventional house hunting with a real estate agent didn’t work out, Kevin Silva placed a detailed Craigslist ad describing their target neighborhood, price and house size. He netted five responses, one of which led to making a deal to buy a San Anselmo house directly from the owner.

Want to know what the value of the home you are thinking of purchasing is.  Contact the real estate appraisers at www.scappraisals.com for your home value and real estate appraisal questions.

While having all the stars and planets align so perfectly is rare, the Silvas’ story illustrates how many house hunters are coloring outside the lines to land a place in the overheated real estate market. Whether it be cold-calling homeowners with offers or placing ads in search of potential houses for sale, being creative is key, experts say.

Of course, the top strategy is both the simplest and the hardest – pay way over asking, in all cash.

Short of that, there are a variety of ways prospective buyers can find a house as well as rise to the top of the offer pile:

Placing an ad: Swooping in with an offer before a home is officially posted for sale is a top tactic, and it worked for the Silvas.

After being consistently outbid, they considered renting, but that market was too competitive. “I realized unless we got really aggressive, we would end up in my parents’ basement in San Mateo with the kids, the dogs, the cat and a really unhappy wife,” Kevin Silva said. In the end, a simple online ad labeled “Wanted to buy: House in San Anselmo or Fairfax” did the trick. A $1 million budget undoubtedly helped. He got one response from a man who, like Silva, was of Portuguese ancestry. They quickly bonded on the phone. Silva visited the three-bedroom house and liked it, and returned with a real estate agent friend who advised him that $1 million was a reasonable price. Attorneys helped draw up the paperwork in an amicable deal.

Read more at: http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Creative-ways-to-buy-a-house-4806993.php

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