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Bedford Corners

NAR joins push for FAA rule on commercial drone use | Bedford Corners Real Estate


Saying regulators are stifling innovation, the National Association of Realtors and nearly three dozen other groups have sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration urging the agency to speed up its process for issuing rules that will govern the commercial use of drones.

The groups, which also include NAR affiliate Realtors Land Institute, also urged the FAA to allow limited use of small drones for commercial purposes right away, before a final rule is complete.

“The current regulatory void has left American entrepreneurs and others either sitting on the sidelines or operating in the absence of appropriate safety guidelines,” the letter said. “The technology is advancing faster than the regulations to govern it.”

Drones have gained popularity in real estate in the past year, but the legalities around their use in commercial situations are far from clear.

NAR and other groups claim that the drone industry will create an estimated 100,000-plus jobs and $82 billion in economic impact during the first decade it is integrated into the FAA’s regulatory framework, giving commercial users boundaries in which to work.

“But with each passing day that commercial integration is delayed, the United States continues to fall behind,” they said.

– See more at: http://www.inman.com/2014/04/08/nar-joins-push-for-faa-rule-on-commercial-drone-use/?utm_source=20140409&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyheadlinesam#sthash.W0msKpJO.dpuf

3 reasons borrowers fare well with ARMs | Bedford Corners Homes


Rapidly rising interest rates have been driving a growing number of home buyers to adjustable rate mortgages, which have grown from a 3.4% share of all conforming home loans in December 2013 to a recent high of 9.9% in March 2014.

The unpredictability of ARMs has given them a bad name for some people, but ARMs are making a comeback.

ARMs have grown from a 3.4% share of all conforming home loans at the end of 2013 to just shy of 10% in March 2014.

While some have said this is a warning sign of a return to risky pre-recession lending, Cameron Findlay, chief economist at Discover Home Loans says that’s not the case at all.  Today’s ARMs are very different, Findlay says, for three reasons.

1) Safer And Smarter

There is a critical distinction to make between the hybrid ARMs offered in today’s marketplace and the interest-only products that were widely associated with the financial crisis.  Hybrid ARMs, which have fixed interest rates for an initial period of time and includes period and lifetime caps, can offer a significant benefit over 30-year fix rate mortgages.

2) Smart, Informed Borrowers

ARMs can be a viable and responsible alternative to fixed rate loans in the current market – but they are not for everyone.  ARMs will provide the most benefit to borrowers who make smart, informed choices based on their home-buying plans. Recently most ARM borrowers have chosen a 5/1 Hybrid with a 2/2/5 structure, meaning the rate is fixed for the first five years, both the initial and subsequent adjustments are capped at 2%, and the loan has a lifetime cap of 5% in adjustments.   For a borrower who only plans to live in a home for seven years, this type of loan can provide savings over the first five years when compared to a 30-year fixed rate loan in the current rate environment.

3) Sensible Alternative to Rising Rates

While there continue to be widespread misconceptions that ARMs are simply an alternative for those who cannot afford traditional loans, the market dynamics that are driving more borrowers towards ARMs tell a different story – and one that makes a great deal of sense for many consumers.  Over the 18 months, and particularly since the Fed announced its decision to “taper” its economic stimulus program, the rate for a 30-year fixed-rate home loan has risen by more than a full percentage point from 3.31 to 4.40%. In that time, the spread between Hybrid ARMs and fixed-rate loans has ballooned, as increases in adjustable loan rates have moved at a much slower pace.  Today, a 5/1Hybrid ARM is 0.96% less than a 30-year fixed rate loan.




Neighborhood preferences are changing | Bedford Corners Real Estate


Home buyers in 2014 are changing their priorities when selecting neighborhoods for their new homes. Instead of size and special amenities, buyers want conveniences within walking distance and shorter commuting time.

Home buyers are increasingly showing their desires for walkable neighborhoods that combine a mix of homes and stores. In fact, a survey shows that the least popular neighborhood is a suburban one with just houses in it.

Sixty percent of Americans surveyed say they favor neighborhoods with a mix of houses and stores and other businesses that are easy to walk to, rather than neighborhoods that require more driving between home, work and recreation,” according to the National Association of Realtors’ Community Preference Survey of 1,500 Americans.

“Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, smart growth is typically characterized by mixed-use development, higher densities, and pedestrian-friendly streets that accommodate a wide diversity of transportation modes,” said the NAR president.

“Growth patterns, economic development, and quality-of-life issues are inextricably linked to the success of communities and residents.”

Home buyers say they’re willing to sacrifice the size of the home and lot in order to live in a neighborhood with walkable features and a shorter commute.

For example, 78 percent of respondents said that the neighborhood is more important to them than the size of the home. Fifty-seven percent said they’d give up a home with a larger yard if they could have a shorter commute. Fifty-five percent said they’d give up a home with a larger yard if it meant they could live within walking distance to schools, stores and restaurants.





What we will—and won’t—learn about home prices this week | Bedford Corners Real Estate


Housing market data have been mixed over the past few months, as harsh winter weather has appeared to put a damper of homebuying. Investors will get some more data on housing in the days ahead, when new home sales, pending home sales and home price data are released. But even if these numbers come in soft, some experts say the U.S. housing market is just getting heated up.

“We’re still in the very preliminary stages of a housing market upturn,” said Carl Riccadonna, senior U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank. “Housing is extremely seasonal, and there’s a high season and a low season. This low season is particularly low due to the weather, and housing numbers have been vulnerable.”

“In next week’s data, new home sales will be pretty lousy, just because buyer traffic has been depressed. But I’m personally waiting to see the March and April data to see what happens in the spring buying season,” Riccadonna told CNBC.com on Friday.

New homes sales for the month of February are set to be released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday morning. The consensus expectation is for sales to come in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 449,000 units, below the 5½ year high of 468,000 that was recorded for the month of January.

In other housing data that will emerge this week, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for January will be released Tuesday as well. This is designed to give investors an indication of the trend in real estate prices. And on Friday, pending home sales data from the National Association of Realtors, which tracks sales that have not yet closed, will give an indication of the demand for houses.



Tips for Buyers in a Sellers’ Market | Bedford Corners Real Estate


There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to buy a home but being unable to through no fault of your own. In many markets across the country, there simply are more buyers than sellers and homes are moving quickly — sometimes for more than the asking price due to high demand and low inventory.

Home buying is not as easy as seeing a new listing online, going to view it in person and making an offer. In a seller’s market the gloves come off and would-be buyers need to act fast, think outside the box and be prepared to work at the home-buying process.

Don’t use conventional search methods

With limited inventory and many buyers looking for the same thing, next-generation buyers need to think outside the box. You must assume that every home out there, even those that lack “For Sale” signs, are for sale in this day and age. Work with your agent to look at pocket listings, Make Me Move listings, and expired or withdrawn listings from years past. Look at pre-market homes or “For Sale By Owner” homes that may not be listed by conventional methods like the MLS. If you like a home in your neighborhood, don’t be afraid to reach out to the owner with a personalized letter. It’s worked before.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

The buyers who get the house in a competitive market are the buyers who are organized, well prepared and ready to move when the right home comes along. What does this mean? Know about any issues with your credit report and make sure your financial house is in order. Start by getting a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender, that you can show to agents and sellers. A pre-approval letter is typically good for 90 days and shows sellers that you are a motivated, credit-worthy buyer who is able to act fast. Faced with multiple offers, the seller won’t just consider the highest offer but, rather, the person who can close quickly and is a sure thing financially.



Great agents and technology: One without the other only takes you so far | Bedford Corners Real Estate


Providing a comprehensive set of rental and for-sale listings that’s accessible via mobile, and employing a stable of “highly experienced agents” helps Urban Compass stand out from the competition in the fragmented New York City market, says co-founder and CEO Robert Reffkin. “We’re making every part of the process online, in mobile. Search, schedule, visit, apply, pay — all integrated from listings to CRM,” Refkin says.“There’s no reason why if I’m working with you, and we go look at an apartment, and you realize you want something slightly different, you want a different neighborhood or you want a terrace, that I should have to tell you, ‘OK, let’s go back to my office, and we’ll look for things together.’ “


– See more at: http://www.inman.com/2014/03/19/great-agents-and-technology-one-without-the-other-only-takes-you-so-far/?utm_source=20140319&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyheadlinesam#sthash.m9LLjiP2.dpuf

Why the mortgage business is now hyper-competitive | Bedford Corners Real Estate


Mortgage applications are relevant to a number of industries—from banks to non-banks, to mortgage REITs like Annaly (NLY) and American Capital (AGNC), to homebuilders like KB Home (KBH), Lennar (LEN), and Toll Brothers (TOL). This series will break down the different indices and help you learn what insight you can glean from them. If you’re a bank, you’re looking at these indices and trying to determine whether you’re competitive in all the segments you want to be competitive in. If you’re a non-bank, you might be looking to see if you’re gaining share or losing share. If you’re a mortgage REIT, you’re focusing on the refinance index and what it might mean for prepayments going forward. And if you’re a homebuilder, you’re watching the purchase index as a way to gauge future demand.


Mortgage rates fall slightly as bonds yields increase

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 6 basis points, from 4.31% to 4.37%, while the ten-year bond yield rose 15 basis points as Ukrainian fears began to fade into the background. The Fed decided to start tapering at the December FOMC meeting and reduced its pace of purchases by $5 billion a month. It made a similar move at the January FOMC meeting. Given how much issuance has fallen, the Fed’s footprint was getting bigger even though it wasn’t increasing purchases. It made sense for the Fed to reduce purchases. The fear, of course, is that the absence of Fed activity will make mortgage rates rise even if the ten-year stays the same.



Unusual Mixes of Old and New in Texas | Bedford Corners Real Estate


Any architect will tell you that the key to a successful building is a good client. Of course, what exactly a “good client” is can vary greatly. For architect Hugh Randolph’s renovation of a 1935 house in the Clarksville neighborhood of Austin, Texas, good clients were a creative couple who were passionate about the history of their house as they and their daughters became its newest residents.
Going so far as to document their research in a blog, Ryan and Kim Battle worked with Randolph to find inspiration in the house’s history. The result is a traditional house with modern touches that are sometimes subtle and sometimes overt, ultimately making something new and personal.
Houzz at a Glance Who lives here: Ryan and Kim Battle and their 2 daughters Location: Austin, Texas Team: Architect: Hugh Randolph; interior designer: Kim Battle; builder: Risinger Homes Size: 2,890 square feet (268 square meters) Photography by Whit Preston and Casey Dunn

The decision to buy and remodel the house started with Randolph’s taking a shortcut in his car one day along Palma Plaza and seeing the house for sale. He thought of Ryan and Kim Battle, who were living in one of his modern commissions at the time but wanted something smaller and more sustainable. Six months after the discovery, the Battles bought the property and hired Randolph to help them transform it.
Looking at the symmetrical, southwest-facing front, it’s hard to see any dramatic changes, outside of the three modern dormers that replaced an existing pair, and the standing-seam metal roof. The dining room is to the left of the entrance, and the master bedroom is to the right.

Why pending home sales ticked up, driven by move-up buyers | Bedford Corners Homes


The Pending Home Sales Index is put out by the National Association of Realtors (the NAR). It tracks the number of home sales under contract. This tends to lead the actual home sales data by a few months. Home sales data is an indicator of the real estate market’s health. Recently, the market has been characterized by limited supply, as homeowners who aren’t desperate to sell have removed their properties in hopes of getting a better price. While the headline real estate appreciation numbers have been large, they’ve been concentrated primarily in the major West Coast markets, especially the markets hit the hardest in the downturn. The rest of the country has been experiencing low single-digit appreciation.



Doggy marketing in real estate: Do’s and don’ts for agents | Bedford Corners NY Homes


Do you volunteer at animal shelters or rescue organizations? Do you take your dog for regular walks or out for a run when you exercise? Is your dog pictured on any of your marketing materials? If so, make sure that you know the do’s and don’ts of “doggy marketing.”A couple of years ago I received an eight-page glossy color brochure from an Austin, Texas, real estate agent. It had multiple pictures of her enjoying the local lifestyle, sitting in her perfect living room, dining out with her husband, and, of course, one of her walking her dog. This particular piece was the most egregious example of “me-me-me” real estate marketing that I had ever seen. It’s hard to believe that she actually thought this narcissistic marketing piece would cause someone to hire her. Doggy no-no No. 1 If you have a picture of yourself and/or your dog on the home page of your website, get rid of it now. When today’s Web visitors see that your website appears to be about you rather than them, they immediately surf elsewhere. The appropriate place to include your photo is on the “about” page of your site, not the home page. Doggy no-no No. 2 This is a corollary of no-no No. 1. Take you and/or your dog’s picture off your marketing materials as well. Again, today’s consumer is focused on “What’s in it for me?” Moreover, using a picture of your pet to market real estate is visually confusing to the consumer: Are you selling dog-sitting services, grooming, vet services, or real estate?


– See more at: http://www.inman.com/2014/03/03/doggy-marketing-in-real-estate-dos-and-donts-for-agents/?utm_source=20140303&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyheadlinesam#sthash.FCxKwF6q.dpuf