Wednesday, April 4, 2012

101 Ways To Praise Your Child Bookmarks

I don’t know about you, but I find myself praising my children and grandchildren by saying “good” about 2 million times a day. It is just an automatic response. But I am so tired of saying “good” when they get something right!

I recently ran across 101 Ways to Praise a Child. It is a list that was generated by a MOM years ago. Moms always know what you need, even before you need it! So I tweaked it a little bit and wanted to share it with you!

We have also just received our new "101 Ways to Praise A Child" bookmarks so that you will vere ever be left speechless when it comes to telling the kiddos what a great job they did. If you would like one of these bookmarks, we would be more than happy to send you one absolutely free.

Just email me at and give me your mailing address and we will get it right out to you.

We feel it's important to be able to praise our
children and grandchildren in many different ways... and often. Please
accept this free gift from us so that you too will have "101 Ways to
Praise Your Child" always at your fingertips. As always, if we can be of
assistance in your Real Estate needs at the lake, do not hesitate to call.

The Spouses Selling Houses team is here working for you. Until next time! Ebbie :) 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

6 Good Reasons to Buy Now!

1. Prices have nearly hit bottom.
In most areas, most of the excess has finally been wrung out of the market. But if you’re buying a first home or looking to trade up, there’s no need to rush. Although prices may fall some more -- blame foreclosures still working their way through the system and tighter credit -- they won’t fall by much.

In most of the cities where home values experienced a double dip after the expiration of the home buyer’s tax credit in mid 2010, median prices won’t fall below their 2009 or 2010 lows, says David Stiff, Fiserv’s chief economist. These cities include San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego and Washington, D.C. But in cities with lingering oversupply of homes for sale, Fiserv forecasts a decline of 10% or more in the median home price (for the year ending March 31, 2012). These cities include Riverside–San Bernardino, Cal.; Las Vegas; and Miami.

2. Houses are affordable again.
Homes haven’t been this affordable since 1991. Economists often define affordability as the ratio of median home price to median family income. According to Fiserv Case-Shiller, the U.S. ratio now stands at 2.6 -- down from a peak of 4.1 in mid 2005 and just under the long-term average of 2.8. Of course, some areas continue to defy affordability. In California’s coastal cities and the New York metro area, the ratio is 5 or more. Average mortgage payments are another way to look at affordability. Since the housing market’s peak in 2006, the average principal-and-interest payment in the U.S. has fallen from $1,063 to $645.
Renters considering the jump to homeownership may be encouraged by the price-rent ratio, or the median home price divided by the median annual rent. In 2005, the national median home price had inflated to nearly 21 times the median annual rent, according to Marcus & Millichap, a commercial real estate brokerage company in Encino, Cal. Since the bust, the ratio has deflated to 14, less than the historical average of 15. During the same period, the difference between the median monthly mortgage payment and median monthly rent fell from $745 nationally to $102. 

3. Mortgage rates won't go any lower.
For the past couple of years, interest rates have hovered at levels last seen when the veterans came home from the Korean War. At the beginning of August the national average 30-year fixed rate was 4.5%. FHA loans, which require only a 3.5% down payment, had a 4.3% rate. Adjustable-rate mortgages are even cheaper, and even rates for jumbo mortgages have hit lows not seen since the 1980s.
Freddie Mac forecasts a 30-year fixed rate 6% by late 2012.

4. It's a buyer's market.
Demand is low; supply is high. In early summer, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes (single-family houses and condos) fell by 9% from the year before. NAR also reported 9.5 months’ supply of homes. That’s how long it would take to sell all the homes on the market at the current pace of sales, and it strongly favors buyers.

With so much selection, you’ll find more properties in good school districts or near your job, or homes that offer added value, such as a mother-in-law suite, says Thomas Popik, research director with the Campbell surveys of real estate professionals. You’ll spend less time shopping and competing against other bidders. And you don’t have to waste time with sellers who set unrealistic prices (although they’re still out there).
One caveat: If you’re searching among entry-level homes, which had more extreme price declines than upper-end houses did over the past year, you may face stiff competition from investors. They typically pay cash, which makes them attractive to sellers who want to close the deal fast. However, says Popik, you may find opportunities in homes that were bought and fixed up by investors, who intended to flip them but have had difficulty making a sale.

5. You may find a distressed property.
Bank-owned foreclosures (or REOs, for “real estate owned” properties) sell for an average discount of 35% off the per-square-foot price of conventional homes for sale, according to RealtyTrac. In the first half of 2011, lenders owned about 870,000 REOs but listed only about one-fifth of them for sale, concentrated in such high-foreclosure states as Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Nevada and Ohio; even with the slowdown in the foreclosure pipeline due to legal-processing issues and new supply exceeds sales.

Short sales, or homes sold with lenders’ permission for less than their owners owe on their mortgages, have also grown in number. Lenders have become more amenable to them as they seek to avoid the often huge losses associated with foreclosures, says Rick Sharga, of RealtyTrac. Short sales offer buyers less of a bargain than REOs, but the homes tend to be in better condition. Banks may still take two to six months to sign off on a short sale, so patience is imperative.

6. Homeownership is still attractive.
A home is the biggest purchase most people ever make. But deciding whether and what to buy isn’t purely a financial decision, says Chris Herbert, research director at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. When you own a home, you can control your living environment and security, upgrade and change your home as you see fit, and create a sense of rootedness in your community.
You can offset some of the cost of homeownership by deducting mortgage interest. But don’t mistake a home for an investment, at least not in the short run. “If your goal is to jump in and get a return of 6% annually, that’s a bad idea,” says Fiserv’s Stiff, given the forecast for weak price appreciation. Instead, you need to commit to owning the home for at least five to seven years to ride out any further price declines and recoup your down payment and transaction costs. If you think that you might need a bigger home before that time to accommodate a growing family or that you might have to move to another area for your job, don’t buy unless you’re willing to become a long-distance landlord.
Shop carefully, and be patient. If we can help you find the perfect home at the lake, please contact us. The Spouses Selling Houses team at RE/MAX lake of the Ozarks. Until next time. Ebbie :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mortgage Interest Rate Report

Long-term interest rates made a significant rise in March, according to data from mortgage finance company Freddie Mac, reaching above the 4 percent mark for the first time in about 5 months.

March 1

Rates fell during the first two weeks of the month, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) dropping to 3.90 percent, excluding fees during the first week, down from 3.95 percent during the ending week of February. The average rate on a 15-year FRM slipped to 3.17 percent from 3.19 percent and the one-year adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) average was barely changed at 2.72 percent from 2.73 percent the week before.

March 8

During the next week, rates again moved back into record-low territory, with the 30-year FRM average falling to 3.88 percent just shy of the all-time low of 3.87 percent in February. The 15-year FRM did, however, hit a new low, sinking to 3.13 percent. The one-year ARM moved back up to 2.73 percent.

March 15

Positive news from the jobs market helped interest rates move upward the next week, with the 30-year FRM averaging 3.92 percent. The 15-FRM grew to 3.16 percent and the one-year ARM carried an average rate of 2.79 percent.
"An upbeat employment report for February caused U.S. Treasury bond yields to increase over the week and mortgage rates followed," said Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist Frank Nothaft. "The economy gained 7,000 jobs, above the market consensus forecast, and revisions added another 61,000 to January and December. Job growth over the last six months was the strongest since 2006."

March 22

Rates then took another leap upward, as the average interest rate on a 30-year FRM rose above 4 percent to 4.08 percent, and the 15-year FRM jumped to 3.30 percent. The one-year ARM grew to 2.84 percent.
"Mortgage rates are catching up with increases in U.S. Treasury bond yields placing the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate above 4 percent for the first time since the end of October 2011," Nothaft commented. "Bond yields rose over the past two weeks in part due to an improving assessment of the state of the economy by the Federal Reserve, better than expected results of commercial bank stress tests and the likelihood of a second bailout for Greece."

Analysts believe the next month will likely produce slightly better economic news, as things have been trending, which could result in mortgage rates hovering right around or above 4 percent in April.

If we can help you with your Real Estate needs at the Lake, we would love to do so. Please call the Spouses Selling Houses. Until next time. Ebbie :)