Robyn's Blog



     The old HUD-1 Form so buyers have seen when they have bought homes with a mortgage in the past are soon going to be a thing of the past.  Coming August 1st 2015, any buyer applying for a home loan after that date will see a new Closing Statement at their closing.  They will also find that the time to close will be extended by the new Federal Mandates of Mandatory disclosure waiting periods once documents are given to buyers prior to closing. this will probably add an additional 8-10 days from final clear to close from your lender to the 1st actual acceptable date that you can legally close due to these new regulations. Details are still to come and will be clarified as they become available.  These changes will affect anything that is on the buyers side or on the sellers side also if it affects the bottom line for the buyer regarding costs. 

Freddie Mac to Incentivize Homes in Cold Weather States




HomeSteps, the real estate sales division of Freddie Mac, announced Tuesday it is offering cash incentives to real estate agents who list or sell HomeSteps homes in 23 states. The incentive is available between February 18, and April 15, 2014.

Home sales must be settled on or before May 30, 2014 to receive the incentive.

Severe weather caused builder confidence to stall in cold weather states, signaling a potential shift from new homes to available homes. Freddie Mac hopes the incentives will push buyers towards homes owned by the government-sponsored enterprise (GSE).

"HomeSteps' 2014 winter sales promotion is focused on firing up sales in 'cold weather' states and condominium deals everywhere," said Chris Bowden, SVP of HomeSteps. "With mortgage rates still low and home inventories tightening, the 2014 HomeSteps Winter Sales Promotion is a great opportunity for families ready to buy and real estate agents ready to sell."

Agents will receive a $1,000 incentive, and listing agents a separate $500 incentive when they sell HomeSteps homes located in the available states.

The promotion offers homebuyers a choice of incentives as well—$500 that can be used towards condominium association dues, flood insurance premiums, or a home warranty.

States available for the newly announced program include Alabama, Connecticut, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.



ACCIDENTS HAPPEN!  But, if they happen on your property, are you liable for

damages?  Possibly. As a homeowner, your are obligated to keep your property safe and free from obvious risks.

Where your obligation ends and personal responsibility begins is ultimately up to the courts to decide.  Limit your exposure to potential homewowner liability risks.

1/ Keep pathways clear. Prevent slip and fall accidents by removing yard debris and obstacles.  Ensure adequate lighting, repair leaking downspouts and keep sidewalks clean and clear. 

2/ Repair building exterior. Maintain the exterior of your home by securing any loose siding or shingles, repair stairs and handrailings and fix uneven or broken pavers. 

3/ Check contractor coverage.  Make sure contractors carry their own liability and worker's compensation insurance, as you are liable for any damage they cause. 

4/ Train and contain dogs.  Enroll your pet in training classes to curb any aggressive behaviors and designate a special fenced area for your dog if possible.

5/ Maintain trees by cutting back dead branches and removing dead trees to prevent them from falling on your neighbor's house, cars, ( or head) during the next windstorm. 

6/ Comply with building codes. Make sure any required safety equipment such as handrails, and smoke detectors are in good working order.

7/ Secure pools and hot tubs. Practice pool safety! Keep gates locked so neighbors or children cannot access it when you are not around.  Always supervise children and make sure lifesaving floatation devices are easily accessible. 

8/ Supervise Trampoline Use. Check the safety net and pads regularly to make sure they are undamaged and in proper working order. 

Most importantly make sure you review and update your homeowner's and liability insurance on a regular basis!



Winters snow and extreme cold temperatures are keeping buyers inside and out of the market.  Homes are still selling, but there are fewer buyers out looking on these really cold, snowy days.  If the cold weather is keeping you out of the market, maybe it's time to put on extra layers of clothing and winter boots and start looking while the competition is less!   With few homes on the market now why not give yourself the edge by being out there when other's aren't out looking?

Some Easy Tips to Help Buyers Love Your House!


Selling your home can be a stressful time, but you can cut some of that stress by doing a few things before you put your house on the market. Below are some ideas to make your home stand out from the crowd to potential buyers.

1/  Help the buyers to picture themselves in your home by de-personalizing it.  You don't have to remove everything personal, but keeping toys put away, removing clutter, collections and all the family photos does make a big difference.

2/  If there are little things that really need fixing, but you just haven't gotten around to doing them, now is the time.  A bunch of small items can seem huge to a buyer and they tend to magnify the $$ amount it will take to fix them.  A little investment in small fixes can yield big $$ and shorten the amount of time you are on the market.

3/  Highlight your homes best features. Replace light bulbs and wipe off finger prints on walls, appliances and switchplates.  Wash the windows inside and out.  Make everything shine. Open the blinds and show off the view even if it is less than desireable as you can't hide less than desireable views forever.

4/ If paint needs freshening up, paint light neutral colors that the buyer can easily see their furnishings fitting with.  You can add splashes of color to break up the monotone with pillows, plants, flowers, towels and decorating items that liven up the room but will also go with you when you move. Make sure the front door has a fresh coat of paint also!

5/  Enlarge your space by removing items that are overly large and items that you are not using. Clean off the extra items from counter tops in the kitchen and baths.  Pack up extra clothing to make closets look larger.  Make sure that the basement has a pathway to walk through even if you have boxes packed and stacked or consider renting a storage pod to keep extra items in while you are selling. 

These tips will help to make your home look great and give a better first impression when buyers walk in.









Source:  AOL Real Estate


With many pointing to the housing market as the backbone of the economic recovery, investors are flooding the market with all-cash offers and it's squeezing out many traditional homebuyers.

"People are worried about the returns on alternative investments," says Karen Dynan, vice president and co-director of economic studies at the Brookings Institute. "There is still a lot of uncertainty about bonds and the stock market, which makes the housing market look good."

According to the National Association of Realtors May 2013 Confidence Report, all-cash offers account for 33 percent of home sales, with international buyers taking the lead. In addition, 87 percent of surveyed Realtors say they are expiring constant or increasing home prices. Homebuyers, particularly first-time homebuyers, are already battling low inventory and rising home prices, but the added pressure from investors creates stiff competition.

William Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird Research & Insights, says cash buys are being bolstered by investor pools snapping up real estate, and less so by individuals looking to live in the home. "These are investment pools paying cash for houses to hopefully get returns," he says. "It's not necessarily a trend among individual homeowners because most people going to buy houses don't have that kind of cash sitting around."

And for sellers, an all-cash deal is ideal since is cuts down on complications, says Patrick Newport, U.S. economist at IHS Global Insights. "If you own a home and are selling yourself, it's probably easier if someone pays you cash -- it cuts out the messiness and having the homebuyer get approved for a loan." Typical cash buyers are either young people who come into a lot of cash, or international investors, he says.

Cash buys signal a housing market that people are more willing to invest in, says Delwiche, but the market's attractiveness may also be due to a lack of other solid investment options. "The housing market is recovering, but people are also looking to diversify their portfolios," he says. "They don't' want to put it all in stocks and bonds."

It's a sign that people are under the impression the market is turning around, says Dynan, which may be a self-fulfilling prophecy if enough investors follow. "A lot of those cash investors are looking for a return," she says. "If a lot of people think home prices will rise, they will put money into the market, and that increases demand and pushes up prices."

The cash-buying trend also gives the overall economy a short-term boost, according to Delwiche.



Housing inventories are tightening up around the country and new construction in some areas is constrained, according to the recently released Federal Reserve Beige Book. The Beige Book summarizes conditions in 12 districts covered by the Federal Reserve Bank. The report found that home sales have continued to rise in most areas despite shrinking inventories. This combination has led to rising home prices in many cities, including Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and San Francisco. 

Inventories are near decade lows following several years of low construction activity and a sharp decrease in the number of delinquencies and foreclosures in recent months.
SOURCE: National Association of Realtors



In some positive news posted on Housing Wire this week from the Mortgage Banker Association, applications are showing slight increases, the purchase index rose, adjustable-rate mortgage activity shrank and interest rates on a 30-year, fixed rate decreased.  Even better reasons for home buyers to purchase now which means its also a good time to list your home for sale.

Also according to the article -

The seasonally adjusted purchase index continued to rise and similarly increased .3%, posting its highest level since May 2010.

The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity sank down to 4% of total applications. Meanwhile, the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with a conforming loan balance decreased to 3.65% from 3.67%.

The average 30-year, FRM with a jumbo loan balance fell to 3.75% from 3.77% last week.

The average contract interest rate for the 30-year, FRM backed by the FHA remained at 3.37% compared to a week prior.

Additionally, the 5/1 ARM swung back up to 2.62% from 2.57% last week. The 15-year, FRM decreased from 2.91% to 2.89%.

Source: Consumer Resources, Real Estate Industry Research & Articles



The real estate market is so huge these days that people that want to sell a house need to make sure that everything is in a perfect state. And not only that they should also try to make the most important features stand out in order to make the potential buyers even more interested in their particular house.

Nobody buys a house without looking around for awhile, so it is necessary to get the property into the ideal state. Of course, there are some things that new home buyers look for first and those are the things that you should focus on in your preparations the most. In this article, we are going to look at some of the top ones.


Patio might not be the most important feature for many buyers, but it is a feature that has a huge influence on the buyers first impressions and we all know how important that factor might turn out to be. Someone who will have to walk through a patio that is in a state of disrepair is surely not going to regard the entire property very highly. On the other hand, a well-designed patio with seasonal decorations that is kept in a good state might have the opposite effect on the potential buyer, so make sure that your patio is indeed going to start the inspection on a high note.


When it comes to exterior features, roof is one of those things that stand out the most and any deficiencies in that department are going to be noticed by everyone who will want to take an in-depth look at the property. This is especially true in locations that experience their fair share of bad weather and where it is a really good idea to have a roof of the best possible quality. You might not be willing to invest into a complete renovation, but you should undoubtedly fix the most obvious problems in order to make your house more attractive.


With the exterior out of the way, the layout is what is going to hit the buyers straight away. Changing the layout is an incredibly tough task and, unfortunately, you will have to pitch your layout a little bit if it isnt designed according to the current trends and tendencies. One of the things that modern families like to have is shared space between the living room and the kitchen. You are obviously not going to change the entire layout just because you have the two rooms separate from each other, but you should know how to convince the buyer that this is no issue at all if the topic comes up during the inspection.

Indoor Decor

One thing that can be changed more easily is the indoor decor and you should definitely try to make it as neutral as possible. Neutral and conservative colors are going to appeal to a much wider audience than eccentric colors like dark red. You might love to live in rooms with that kind of aesthetic features, but chances are that the buyers would prefer to come into a place that has a neutral decor and color palette. Thankfully, it is not that hard or expensive to change this particular feature and you should therefore surely consider changing it even before you put your house on the market.


Finally, everyone who is satisfied enough with what he or she sees will certainly want to take a look at the houses infrastructure. We are talking about the most basic things water, electricity, and heating. Every single house has an infrastructure, but customers tend to be very picky these days. First and foremost, everything needs to be in a perfect state nobody will want to buy a house in which the heating system will have to be changed in the near future.

With that out of the way, home buyers also tend to look for how efficient all those systems are, especially when it comes to environmental friendliness. Solar panels seem to be what the craze is mostly about these days and innovative solutions like that can certainly make your house stand out from the rest of the market. So dont forget to mention them during the inspection!

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