Tag Archives: ownership

Six signs a home will hold its resale value

Most buyers have a wish list of features they’d like to have in a home. Often missing from that list is how salable the home will be when they later decide to sell.

Generally, buyers deal indirectly with resale value. They want a home they can buy at market value or less. They want to buy a home that will retain its value. They want to buy a home that will suit their needs. They want to buy a home they can make their own.

A listing that’s priced low to sell fast may be one that will have good resale value only if you use this marketing strategy. The low price may offset an incurable defect, such as a location on a busy street.

There’s nothing wrong with buying a home on a busy street as long as (1) you buy it at a price that reflects the location issue; (2) it suits your long-term needs; and (3) you understand that you will probably have to discount the price accordingly when you sell, depending on the market at the time.

In a hot seller’s market, buyers are desperate to buy. They often overpay, and they are more likely to overlook defects that they would shun in a sour market.

Resale value has become a bigger issue since the housing recession began five years ago. Buyers are more cautious in their home-buying decisions. They don’t want to buy just any home; they don’t want to make a mistake and end up wanting to move in a slow market in which they might lose money.

The homes that hold their resale value well are the ones that appeal to a broad cross section of buyers; offer a good floor plan that works for different lifestyles; have a good amount of space but are not enormous and expensive to maintain; and exhibit a pride of ownership. They should also be in good condition.

Location is also a critical element of resale value. There are market niches that are always in demand, in both hot and soft markets. For example houses in neighborhoods with close proximity to shops, cafés and public transportation systems.

That’s not to say that every listing in these neighborhoods sell quickly. To sell, it needs to be priced right for the market.

Six signs a home will hold its resale valueIt’s easier to recognize a home with good resale value in the current market than it was in the bubble market of 2005 and 2006 when virtually all homes sold in many areas. In a soft market, the homes that sell within 30 to 60 days are either good homes or good deals.

Ideally, you want to buy a home that has good resale value. Not one that’s just a good deal. There’s no urgency to buy now in many areas, although it would be nice to take advantage of record-low interest rates. But you shouldn’t buy a home that won’t work for you long term just to lock in a great interest rate.

Even though there are a lot of homes for sale on the market, in many areas there is a not a surplus of quality inventory on the market. One reason for the lack of quality homes on the market is that many sellers are waiting for a better time to sell. Another reason is that homes with good resale value don’t tend to change hands that often.

THE CLOSING: There may be good news ahead. Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, predicts that sellers who have been waiting for a better time to sell may decide they’ve waited long enough and list their homes for sale in 2012.

Dian Hymer is a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience and is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author.

BofA Tests an Option to Foreclosure

Bank of America Corp.is launching a pilot program that will allow homeowners at risk of foreclosure to hand over deeds to their houses and sign leases that will let them rent the houses back from the bank at a market rate.

While the initial scope of the “Mortgage to Lease” program is small—the bank began sending letters Thursday offering leases to 1,000 homeowners in Arizona, Nevada and New York—it represents a big change in the way banks deal with borrowers who can’t afford their mortgages.

Until now, banks have focused the bulk of their borrower outreach on modifying mortgages, usually by reducing the monthly payments. When that doesn’t work, most foreclosure alternatives require homeowners to leave their house, typically through a short sale, in which the bank approves the sale for less than the amount owed. Banks often insert clauses forbidding the new owner from renting the property back to the former owner.

The new approach is unlikely to be expanded unless banks conclude that avoiding eviction reduces costs associated with taking back, maintaining and reselling properties. If a significant number of borrowers are willing and able to rent the homes, Bank of America could ultimately sell the properties to investors that agree to keep them as rentals.

Already, in a growing number of housing markets, investors are buying foreclosures and converting them into rentals, often filling them with families that have gone through foreclosure.

Executives last year began to ask themselves “isn’t there a way to sort of combine that whole process and

keep the borrower in the property? It’s just better for the market,” said Ron Sturzenegger, the Bank of America executive who last summer was put in charge of the unit that handles troubled mortgages.

[BANKRENT]

Bank of America became the nation’s largest mortgage originator after its 2008 purchase of Countrywide Financial Corp., but over the past year it has retreated from the mortgage market. The initial pilot is limited to loans that Bank of America holds on its books. Homeowners can’t apply for the program—only those who receive letters from the bank can participate.

Borrowers would agree to a what is known as a “deed-in-lieu” of foreclosure, where they essentially sign over ownership of the property to the lender. This is less costly to the bank and also does less damage to a borrower’s credit than a foreclosure.

Borrowers selected for the program must be at least two months past due on their mortgage and face considerable risk of foreclosure.

In exchange…

Read the rest of this article by the Wall Street Journal here: “Alternative to Foreclosure Tested“.