Home Maintenance Tip:

Keep Cool this Summer with Preventative Maintenance Help your clients keep cool by reminding them to conduct annual maintenance on their air conditioning units before the heat hits this summer!

Here are a few things that most homeowners can do themselves to help maintain their air conditioner:

  • Ensure the filter is clean and/or replaced regularly. Disposable filters are inexpensive and should be replaced once per month during periods of high usage.
  • Trim back plants so there is at least one foot of clearance around the A/C unit – this will allow proper air flow and prevent motor strain.
  • Sand and other debris can get sucked into the condenser coils. To clean the coils, first disconnect the power to the A/C and then use a garden hose to spray the coils.

The best advice you can give your clients is to have an annual maintenance inspection performed by a professional HVAC Technician. Your home warranty company is an excellent resource for qualified referrals. When interviewing Technicians, ensure the following items are included in their service:

  • Condenser – Check pressure, oil the motor bearings, tighten all hardware, check current electrical draw, and visually inspect wiring and condenser coils.
  • Air Handler/Evaporator – Visually inspect wiring; oil the motor bearings; clean or replace filter; tighten all hardware; inspect condensation drain, pan, pump, and auxiliary pan; clean drain system; ensure that evaporator coils are clean and free of damage.

With proper maintenance, the air conditioner should run smoothly for years. However, should a covered unit fail due to normal wear and usage, your client’s Old Republic Home Protection Plan will repair or replace the covered parts and components!

502 Rural Housing Program

Because of thousands of other members who supported the REALTOR® Party in taking action, the House and Senate last night passed an extension of the flood insurance program through May, 31 2010. The lapse in flood insurance resulted in many delayed and even canceled transactions. While awaiting Congressional action (which did come), NAR worked with federal agencies, GSEs and bank regulators to clarify what lenders and insurers may and may not do to help work through the program’s expiration. Be assured that NAR will work closely with key members of Congress to ensure the program is reauthorized and extended prior to the May 31 deadline.

Regarding 502 Rural Housing, the NAR CFA raised the visibility of this issue in Congress and spurred momentum on the legislation. NAR expects Congress to consider legislation to restore the rural housing 502 single family mortgage insurance program. The legislation will increase the upfront guarantee for the program, which will allow the loan program to be self-sustaining and placed on a more viable financial foundation. NAR will continue to work with the Senate to craft a companion to the House bill that will ensure the long-term viability of this critical program.

Sincerely,
NAR Government Affairs and Community & Political Affairs Divisions

Economist's Commentary: Commercial Challenges, Financing

By George Ratiu, Research Economist

The March 2010 results of the Realtors® Commercial Real Estate Quarterly Market Survey confirm difficult conditions in Realtor® markets. The survey report, which covers fourth quarter 2009 activity, indicates that the national commercial market struggled with continued declines in new construction, rental activity and rent levels. For most commercial Realtors®, the biggest challenge remained the availability of financing to close deals. Sales volume continued to slide, with sales prices down 39 percent over 2009.

Commercial fundamentals were weak across most of the country. New construction continued to decline (down 14 percent), with a significant number of respondents reporting a complete absence of construction activity. On the leasing side, rental activity was down two percent in the fourth quarter. Lease rates declined nine percent during the quarter, following a 13-percent decrease in the third quarter. Aggregated over the four quarters of 2009, rents dropped 41 percent. Rent concessions continued to grow, but at a slightly slower pace—nine percent during the fourth quarter.

However, the fourth quarter 2009 also provided signs of improvement in Realtor® markets. The steep decline in sales volume began to moderate, decreasing eight percent from the third quarter. After double-digit drops in the second and third quarter of 2009, sales prices lost nine percent in the fourth quarter. The advance in cap rates also moderated from 95 basis points in the second quarter of the year, to 32 basis points in the fourth quarter. Looking ahead, commercial Realtors expect cap rates to increase, on average, another 15 basis points in the next twelve months.

In addition, the direction of business opportunities improved in 2009. Based on member comments, along with financing, the other major obstacles for commercial real estate are employment, banks’ lending activities, Federal legislative activities and consumer confidence in the economic environment. For the full report, including state-by-state detailed results, please see the Commercial Real Estate Market Survey: March 2010.

Home Buyer Tax Credit

Act Now

Home Buyer Tax Credit
Ends Soon

Did you know that it is a great time to buy a home? Low interest rates and the federal tax credits* for certain first-time home buyers and move-up buyers combine to make home buying an exceptional value right now. But, time is running out, because the credits, which can be worth up to $8,000, are only available on sales contracts signed by April 30, for purchases that will close by June 30, 2010.

First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

  • First-time home buyers are eligible for a credit of as much as 10% of the purchase price, up to a maximum of $8,000.
  • First time buyers are people, including both partners of a married couple, who have not owned a principal residence during the three years prior to purchase.

Long-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

  • Taxpayers who have owned a principal home for a period of five consecutive years during the past eight can qualify for a tax credit of as much as 10% of the purchase price, up to a maximum of $6,500, on a new principal residence.
  • The new home does not have to cost more than the current dwelling.

PLEASE Contact your CPA if you have any questions on how your financial situation is.

PLEASE VOTE!

The Texas Association of REALTORS® proudly endorses Judge Debra Lehrmann for the Texas Supreme Court and asks Texas REALTORS® to cast your vote on April 13 in the Republican Primary runoff for Judge Lehrmann.  http://takeaction.realtoractioncenter.com/txrealtors/join-forward.html?domain=txrealtors&r=XdsUQdYaT2Gs&

 


Please Vote today!  April 13, 2010 

Debra Lehrmann brings 22 years of award-winning judicial experience to the race for Texas Supreme Court, Place 3. She faces an opponent who, while he does have a significant political following, has no experience as a judge and has admittedly spent very little time in the courtroom. Texas REALTORS® will also remember her opponent as the infamous ex-state legislator who aggressively pushed a real estate transfer tax during the 2001 Legislative Session which would have severely harmed the real estate market and cost home buyers an additional $14 Billion. To learn more about Judge Lehrmann’s background and campaign, click herehttp://judgedebralehrmann.com/index.html

 

Bandera Real Estate Economy

Report from Austin – TAR Winter meeting – From Andrea McGilvray @ www.CowboyCapitalRealty.com

The Economy:  Well that is dependent on where you live.  In General –  there is a 2% foreclosure rate in Texas. Most of the down town and large commercial buildings are worth 50% to 60% of what they were worth 2 years ago. That may spill over into residential in the near future.

What this means is that owners of commercial and potentially residential loans that have a refinance time frame could be foreclosed on even if they are current with their payment. If the property value is less than the loan the owner will have to come up with the difference.

Also there may be a double dip recession according to Mark Dotzour.  The reason is because of “government” including county, state and of course our Federal Government have not reduced their budgets, but their income has reduced. Tax dollars are less than in the past but the budgets have not been cut. So the next expected layoffs will be in Government, from schools, counties to jobs at the state and federal level.  That will also ripple down to the consumer level.

San Antonio Market home supply has increased to 7.3 months. There are issue with foreclosures being put on the market.  A oversupply of them is driving the market down.

In General there are some foreclosures in Bandera County.  I know that Tarpley has had 1 forclosure and there are 2 more that I just did a BPO (Broker Price Opinion- Lender owned home on).  I personally know of 8 foreclosures.  8-10% Chase, Wells Fargo and Countrywide have a 5% increase of delinquent loans, all homes not just lower end.   The Flying L has had a number of foreclosures for a nice subdivision. This is making selling a house in there a problem for appraisers and buyers.

Home buyers are noticing that they will need more $ needed to buy, more paper work for lenders – so if you or you know of someone buying or selling a home.  Be prepared for the lenders to nickel dime you for paperwork and proof of what you say you have.  In the past this was not happening and you could get a loan just because you said you had the $.  That has done a 100% swing to the other direction. Closing for a home may take more time because of new paperwork. So if you know of anyone that is frustrated, please let them know it is country spread and it is not them.

Interest rates are expected to go up by the 3rd quarter to 6-6.5%. This is because the Fed’s have stopped buying mortgage backed securities.  They have already gone up by a ½ percent. Private investors are not willing to get the return on investment that the government.

Homes in Bandera in general were on the market 82 days 2 years ago and now are 103 days, so time till a home is sold is longer.

Sold price median was $173,500 vs this year so far $165,450.  –  Bandera County only

I have personally seen this year that selling and sold prices are different.  Kerrville 14% less than previously appraised. Bandera River Ranch 8% decrees.  Medina home on acreage also 8% less.

Water Rights and what is coming Sept 1st.  BIG changes and water meters on many wells will be going on to monitor water consumption.  Where this leads to is still unknown.  I will have more information coming.