26th September 2008

A Darkhorse Candidate Emerges!

While the two presidential candidates were taking time away from their campaigns this week to attend congressional hearings on the $700 billion dollar “bail out”, the internet and chat rooms in Atlanta have been on fire. Apparently a local Atlanta real estate Broker has been endorsed by people all over the country as a possible candidate! CNBC’s Wolf Blitzer says this is nothing short of a Phenomenon! Click the following video for this emerging story.

The Robert Whitfield Home Selling Team hope you enjoyed the video and the consensus is, there is very little chance of Robert being called away to Washington – at least for the near and far foreseeable future! Robert in a recent press release stated emphatically, My skill sets and intersts will keep me here in Atlanta – I am still available to assist the public with unmatched service for all their Atlanta Real Estate needs!

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21st September 2008

Thinking About A Second Home?

The Current Market Is Allowing More Atlantan’s To Treat Themselves To The Solitude And Splendor Of A Second Home Or Vacation Home – With More Options And Better Deals Than Anytime In Recent Memory

Today there are over 7 million vacation homes in the United States. With interest rates extremely low and hundreds of very desirable vacation home opportunities within a 2-5 hour drive from Atlanta, your dream of owning a vacation home may be easier than you think.

Whether you dream of a mountain lodge or a beach house on the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of South Carolina, there are many options to choose from, and Robert Whitfield can help you.

According to  Walter Molony a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sales of second homes hit a new record in 2006, with over one million buyer purchasing vacation homes. In 2007, second homes and vacation homes accounted for more than 12 percent of all home sales. A NAR study found that the typical vacation home buyer in todays market is 46 years old, with a median annual income of $99,000.

“There are some great deals to be made in real estate right now,” said Molony, citing the large number of homes on the market, low interest rates and a 2.5 percent decline in home prices in 2007. “Buyers, especially financially fit baby boomers, are looking to diversify their portfolios. Historically speaking, real estate typically appreciates in value considerably over the years making it an excellent long term investment,” he said.

NAR reports that about 60 percent of vacation homes buyers choose locations within easy driving distance of where they live, with the average distance being about 220 miles, just a 4 to 5 hour drive. Because of Atlanta’s close proximity to the North GA and Blue Ridge mountains and even sections of the Gulf of Mexico, there are wonderful options that are anywhere from one to three hours away.

There has been a surge of interest in vacation home communities anchored among scenic natural settings, near a gorgeous mountain range, or the sandy beaches of a clear lake or sea coast.

Things To Consider Before Buying

Location, Location!

Select homes that are near outdoor recreation attractions and nature, especially those with or near breathtaking views – and homes where the return has been historically high. Properties along the Gulf Coast are popular with Atlantan’s and continue to have a great resale and return on investment potential.

Talk To Your Lender!

Lenders may require a larger down payment and charge a higher rate for second homes. To keep your costs down, you may want to consider financing a portion of your vation home with a home equity loan on your primary home. Home equity loans have lower rates than conventional mortgages. Robert can not only help you find a great vacation home, but refer a great home equity lender with some of the lowest rates around as well.

Check With Your Insurance Agent

Premiums for homeowners insurance for vacation homes are usually higher than your primary home, especially if you are far from a fire hydrant or fire station, or, you plan to rent the home out while you aren’t using it.

Consult With Your Tax Adviser

Have your tax adviser explain all the tax issues that pertain to a second home especially if you plan to rent it out, and if you don’t treat it as an investment property.

For more information, contact Robert Whitfield, Broker/Owner Advantage Realtors

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9th September 2008

Paulson’s Fannie/Freddie takeover plan: So far, so good.

Early reaction to the Fannie-Freddie takeover by the Fed has been roundly positive. Mortgage rates dropped almost a half point and that will be a boon to homebuyers with decent credit as rates are in the 5% range again as they were in 2005.

As Treasury secretary Paulson had hoped, the spread between the yield on mortgage-backed securities and risk-free Treasury bonds narrowed sharply Monday and mostly held those gains Tuesday. The tightening of those spreads has the effect of bringing down rates on the mortgages the companies are eligible to buy or guarantee – so-called conforming loans, typically those of $417,000 or less though up to $729,000 in some pricier areas. The rate for a conforming 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 5.88% Monday from 6.26% a week ago, according to BankRate.com.

The steep decline in mortgage rates will be good news for the housing market if it holds, by allowing some troubled homeowners to refinance and by generally making financing more available.

“Mortgages tightened a ton,” says Merrill Lynch mortgage-backed securities strategist Akiva Dickstein. “The question now is whether there’s more tightening to come.”

If so, people looking to buy houses could find purchasing a house more affordable. That could bring more buyers into a market struggling to digest near record levels of houses for sale, and slow the decline of prices. Prices in 20 big metro areas have fallen 16% over the past year, according to data from the S&P/Case-Shiller national survey.

In an additional bit of good news, Treasury bond prices rose in the wake of the rally in mortgage-backed bonds, and the dollar continued its two-month-long ascent against other major currencies.

Now is one of those windows of opportunity to refinance, buy a new home, or buy a second home – especailly now that the deal out there can be acquired with cheaper money.

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