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Get Down Payment Help

Monday, February 8, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Home buyers who are a little short of cash can receive down payment assistance from their local and Federal government.  Many city, county and state programs piggy back on the Federal down payment assistance programs.

For information about the help that is available in your area, search for “down payment assistance programs” and include the name of your region of the country.   Also, check the HUD website which is providing a Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

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Fed Snapshot on Real Estate in 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

An exerpt from the NASDAQ report states:

In all seven of its districts, though, sales of lower-priced homes outpaced those of higher-priced homes by a wide margin, the Fed reported. It credited the government homebuyer tax credit for boosting interest in less-expensive properties.

And the extension of the tax credit could act as a shot in the arm for purchase activity later in the year, the Fed suggested. “The extension of the credit into 2010,” the Fed noted, “could give an added impetus to the expected seasonal sales upturn this spring.” 

Concerns about the continued housing recovery abound among policymakers and the chattering class, however. Both the tax credit and the Fed’s purchase of mortgage-backed securities are slated to end in the coming months, and it’s unclear whether there will be sufficient demand for home purchases without those stimuli.

This week, the Mortgage Bankers Association released a forecast for mortgage activity; it anticipates that mortgage issuance will fall 40 percent from 2009. The decline will be led by a plummeting rate of home refinancing, the MBA said. reads between the lines:  The market is being driven on the low end by Federal stimulus and the housing market will drop off after the April deadline for qualification passes.   If you have a home to sell, you will see more buying momentum earlier in the year than later.  To maximize your investment, clean, repair, stage and advertise your property on the internet during the first quarter of 2010.   January – April will be the period we will see the more homes go under contract for the year.








The housing market has been sending some serious mixed signals for months now.  The one certainty is that the real estate market is in flux, and will likely be for months to come. 


  • Although interest rates have been increasing, they remain at historical lows.  This is good news for buyers who act quickly, as none of the experts expect rates to remain this low later in 2010.
  • The $8000 tax credit for first time buyers was expanded to include existing home owners, as well.  The timing of this offer is crucial.  Buyers must close on or before June of 2010 to collect their free cash.
  • Home prices and demand have steadily increased month over month throughout October of 2009. 
  • Although some markets may slide a bit further, we are definitely in the last innings of the crash.  Even if we have a bit more downward pressure, 2010 will be the bottom of the housing crash.
  • Home seller’s who use the power of the MLS and the Internet to realistically market their properties, will see more buyers and will have much more pricing power than they’ve experienced in years.
  • In markets, such as Phoenix, you can buy a new home for $800 a month, making it cheaper to own a home than rent it.


  • According to Bob Curran, director at Fitch Ratings, a mountain of foreclosures will hit the market in 2010.  And, a 10.5 percent unemployment rate will cause a surge in new homeowners that will fall into default.
  • Per Lawrence Yun, chief economists with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) expects a record 3 million foreclosures in 2010, up from 2.1 million in 2009.
  • John Burns, president of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, is even more bearish.  He thinks 50 percent more people will lose their homes to the bank than they did last year.  Why?  Lenders were under pressure to postpone foreclosures in favor of loan modifications.  And, the banks weren’t staffed to handle all the defaulted loans, as they now are.
  • The Office of Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervison released  a report that said the results of the loan modification program was disappointing.  61 percent of the loans that were modified are now in default again.  The offices predict another wave of foreclosures in 2010, which could cause prices to fall another 5 – 10 percent before the market stablilizes.
  • The Federal Reserve plans to end the program that has kept mortgage rates so low for so long.  Rates have already passed the 5 percent mark in anticipation.
  • The first time buyer and existing home buyer tax credit program expires in early 2010.  To qualify for the stimulus, buyers must purchase by April and close no later than June of 2010.  This program has certainly lured buyers into the market place and its expiration will take a toll on demand in the 3rd and 4th quarters.

InfoTube Prediction:  Since the housing market peak in the summer of 2006, home prices have dropped over 30 percent on average.  Prices in some markets such as Las Vegas, Phoenix and parts of Florida and California have fallen more than 60 percent.   Some markets have further to go, but we are in the final innings of the crash.  Even if we go lower, we will see the bottom in 2010.  But, don’t look for a rebound off the bottom.  The damage was too deep and too systemic for a “V” shape recovery.  The housing market will skate along the bottom for quite a while and it will probably be 2013 before most people notice any rebound.

Thank you for visiting  There hasn’t been a better time to buy or sell a home in 4 years.   Check out our website for over 20,000 fresh home listings and feel free to place your property on our site for FREE.  We’ve been helping buyers and sellers connect since 1988.  We can help you, too!!

Mortgage Rates Jump over the Holidays

Thursday, January 7, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Mortgage Rates jumped nearly one-half percent during the week ending January 1, 2010.  The average rate climbed to 5.18 percent, up from 4.92 percent one week earlier.

Overall demand for home financing has also fallen dramatically.  Loan applications were down 23 percent the last week of December.  Even worse, applications for refinancing were down a whopping 30 percent.

Through the grapevine… I continue to hear from brokers, loan officers and buyers that loans and appraisals are very difficult to obtain.  Apparently, our lenders don’t want to loan any of their money for real estate these days. 

Side note… The banks are also sitting on 2 million foreclosed homes, apparently waiting and praying they’ll make more money later on…hmmmm…. I guess we’ll take their position as a positive sign.  Since they are willing to set on these non-performing assets, I assume they expect less competition later in the year or firmer pricing…

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Nicolas Cage Loses Homes to Foreclosure

Monday, November 16, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Is it a sign of the economic times, or more like MC Hammer deja vu??

Academy Award winning actor, Nicolas Cage, lost 2 New Orleans homes to a foreclosure sale this week. 

More bad news for freespending Cage. He owes more than $6 million in back taxes to the IRS. And, his properties in California and Las Vegas have been foreclosed on and are scheduled for auction this month.

Mr. Cage owed the City of New Orleans $151,730 in back real estate taxes and defaulted on his $5.5 million mortgage debt.  His home at 1140 Royal Street in the French Quarter, valued at $3.5 Million, sold for $2.3 million.  The other property located at 2523 Pataniya Street, appraised at $3.3 million, sold for only $2.2 million.  Pataniya Street is located in the Garden District.  Famous neighbors include author Anne Rice and football great Archie Manning, father of Peyton and Eli.

Bad Times or Crazy Spending?  Nicolas Cage, a member of the famous Coppola family, is known for being a big spender and news maker.  His obsession for Elvis resulted in a one minute marriage to Lisa Marie Presley.  He once paid $276,000 for a dinosaur skull.  At one time Cage owned 2 islands in the Bahama’s, luxury yachts (plural), a room full of shrunken heads and drove a stable of expensive cars, including a Lamborghini.  

Stars may occassionally fall to Earth, Nic won’t stay long.  Nicolas Cage and the Coppola family are Hollywood Royalty.  His movies have generated over $8 Billion in Box Office Sales.    Although Mr. Cage is facing financial ruin because he continued to spend, while millions of dollars drained from his bank accounts, we predict he will crank out more movies and will be back to living the high life in no time.  Also, it is rumored that Johnny Depp may come to Nic’s rescue.  It seems Depp has a soft spot for Cage, who got him his first roll in Nightmare on Elm Street.  Aren’t friends great!!

Thank you for visiting Free Homes for Sale and Rent website.  We have helped sellers and buyers connect since 1988.  We can help you too!!

Home Buyer Motivation at Highest Level in Years

Friday, November 13, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

According to a survey by, 12.1 percent of homebuyers intend to purchase an investment property this year, compared to only 5.6 percent of buyers polled in April. 

The percentage of investors shopping for property also jumps higher when it comes to foreclosed property.   42 percent of foreclosure buyers are purchasing for an investment.   57.6 percent of foreclosure shoppers plan to live in the home they buy.

The survey also shows that 23.6 percent of investors and buyers believe that home prices are already as low as they will go.  Nearly 20 percent feel a sense of urgency when searching for a bargain. 

Another factor motivating home buyer’s off the sidelines is the real threat of rising interest rates.  Wall Street guru’s, who agree on very little, warn that lending rates will rise in the near future.   With real estate prices at their lowest levels, buyers risk much more in waiting to purchase, than they do by locking in record low rates on their loan.

Prediction:  We believe the leading indicator of an interest rate hike will be  falling unemployment claims.  When unemployment claim filings fall below 500,000 per month, a rate hike is likely!

Thank you for visiting Free homes for sale and rent website.  Happy Home Shopping!!!

Latest Housing and Foreclosure News

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

The latest news about home sales through October 31st, was nearly more scary than Halloween.  Here are the high or low lights, depending on your market position.

  1. Existing home sales were up 11 percent, due mostly to the $8000 tax incentives.
  2. Sales prices were down 11 percent.  Average US home price is now $177,900.
  3. One third of all homes sales were short sales or foreclosures.
  4. Foreclosures are up nearly 90 percent.  And, the banks reported that one-third of all their foreclosures are being held off the market.  Their strategy is to trickle more homes on the market, in hopes of keeping inventory lower, and therefore, prices higher.  Bottom Line.  There will be a huge second wave of Foreclosures hitting the market in 2010.
  5. The loan crisis isn’t over, it’s just starting in new places with new people.  Most defaulting subprime borrowers are already on the street.  When picturing the new homeless, visualize the bigger, Prime borrowers.  Expect foreclosures to rise dramatically in Salt Lake, Provo and Boise.  Also, expect a new surge of foreclosures in upscale, step-up homes and communities. 

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Mortgage Giant Cuts a Deal with Homeowners

Thursday, November 5, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae announced that it is willing to play “Let’s Make a Deal” with homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments.

According to CNBC, Fannie Mae will give homeowners, who are in default on their loan, the option of renting the home and staying put for up to one year.  To be eligible, the homeowner must sign over the deed to the property.

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Home Buyer Tax Credit Extended.

Thursday, October 29, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Great news for home buyers, sellers and owners, alike.  The homebuyer tax credit has been expanded to include step up buyers, who have owned a home for 5 years.  It also extends the tax credit through the end of 2010.  


It appears that Senate Democrats have recognized the tremendous value of the First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit and odds are it will be renewed soon. At this time, it is believed that the credit will allow anyone purchasing a home, by April 30, 2010, to participate and receive the full credit available.

The credit will continue until the end of 2010, but the amount of tax credit will drop by 2 percent every 90 days.  The graduated benefit should help the housing market recover into and through the 2010 summer selling season.

Here is the text of the story as reported in Bloomberg News today:
Senate Democrats on Board with Credit Extension

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) says Senate Democrats have agreed to extend the first-time home buyer tax credit.  The latest version extends the program to home sales signed not closed by April 30. Purchasers would have another 60 days to close the sale.  The credit will also be expanded to include so-called step-up buyers who have lived in their current home for at least five years.

The credit would be cut slightly to a $7,290 cap.  Income eligibility for first-time home buyers would stay the same, but it would rise for step-up buyers to $125,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.
Source: Bloomberg News, Dawn Kopecki and Ryan Donmoyer (10/27/2009)

3 News Stories for Real Estate Lovers

Monday, October 26, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow








3 Short Real Estate News Items of Interest.

  1. Good news for US Housing.  For those of you still searching for a BOTTOM in the real estate market, we hit it in January 2009.  A double bottom, in fact.  Take a look at the CHART.
  2. China raised its minimum down payment requirement to 40 percent, in an effort to slow down the overheated housing market in Hong Kong.  Conversely, in the US, we still offer financing with NO Money Down, when the tax rebate is combined with FHA or VA financing.  Quite startling in light of the lessons we learned from subprime loans.
  3. Uncle Sam Added 5 Percent to Home Prices.  Government interventions in the housing market have inflated home prices at least 5 percent higher than they would have been.  Artifically low interest rates, $8000 tax credits, push for loan modifications and efforts to stall foreclosures may have created a false bottom.  Since the props won’t last forever, the risk of price decline in the future is significant. 

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Friday Good News for Housing!!

Friday, October 23, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

 The stock market is back to 10,000, the level it reached in 1999.  Sales of existing homes were up a whopping 8 percent, to the highest level seen in 2 years.  The news is abuzz about an extension of the First Time Buyer Tax Credit….But, is it time to “Party like it’s 1999″???

Here is a snapshot of Friday’s real estate news.  You decide.

  1. A record number of people snapped up bargains in September.  The median price of a home sold in the US fell to 174,000, down 9 percent from $191,200 one year ago.  Note: The significant price drop could be blamed in part to the First Time Buyer Tax Credit which favors the lower priced homes.
  2. Keep in mind that the homes counted as “sold” in September were actually purchased in June, July and August.  No doubt the push to buy this summer had something to do with the expiring $8000 Tax Credit.
  3. 70 percent of all homes closed in September were foreclosures or distressed property.
  4. 80 percent of the homes closed, were sold for less than $250,000.  The market above $250,000 has stalled and inventory is rapidly growing.  And, the more expensive the home, the slower the market.
  5. The biggest sales gains (not price gains) were seen in the hard hit cities of Miami and Orlando.  Sales in Miami were up 71 percent from last year, Orlando 65 percent.  Note: Prices are still falling dramatically in the Sunshine state.  In Miami and Orlando prices declined more than 30 percent from last year;  Tampa prices fell to $133,000, down 17 percent.
  6. Sales of existing homes were down nearly 20 percent in Atlanta and Birmingham.  Local Realtors blame job loss for lack of activity.
  7. Prices were flat or up a bit in some cities:  Dallas, Houston, San Antonio; Tulsa; Jackson, MS and Washington DC.

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Not surprisingly, real estate industry lobbiest are attempting a full court press as they make a final push for extension of the first-time buyer tax credit.   

And, it’s little wonder.  The IRS estimates that 1.4 million homebuyers have claimed the credit through August, and the Realtors Association estimates the credit was crucial in pushing 355,000 of those buyer’s off the fence.   

If the real estate industry gets it’s way and the amendment passes, the $8000 tax credit would be extended to June 30th, 2010 and it would allow more taxpayers to qualify for the subsidy.  The amendment would increase the income limit to $150,000 for a single filer and $300,000 for a couple, up from the current limit of 95,000 and $170,000, respectfully.

The Pro’s: Why Vote “Yea”

  1. Lenders are still in trouble, as more people default or fall behind on their mortgages.  Experts predict an additional 1.5 million foreclosures in 2010, increasing supply and further eroding prices and demand. 
  2. Dems and Rep like it.  The proposal was introduced by a GA Republican, Johnny Isakson, and it is also supported by Democratic heavy-weights.  House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid support the extension, President Obama hasn’t taken a position for either side.
  3. Still too Many Houses.  Although the supply of existing homes on the market has fallen from 1-5 months down to 8.5 months, a healthy market has only 5-6 months supply of house.
  4. Unemployment is Rising.  With national unemployment levels at 10 percent, and some states reporting a far higher number, extending the taxpayer subsidy of housing market would likely create and preserve jobs.  In addition, people out of work usually means more loan deliquency, foreclosures and further downward pressure on pricing.

The Con’s:  Why Vote “NAY”

  1. The Cost to the Taxpayers.  The extension comes with a heavy price tag of $16.7 BILLION over 5 years.
  2. As bad as Sub-Prime.  Opponents argue that the subsidy has artifically propped up the prices of inexpensive homes, targeted by first-time buyer’s, thereby creating another potential mini-bubble in affordable housing.
  3. Both Opponents and real estate industry admit that most people who claimed the $8000 deduction, would have purchased a home anyway due to historical low rates and steep price declines.
  4. Fraud.  The IRS has identified over 100,000 cases of fraud involving the tax credit.  On Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to take a closer look.
  5. Did we mention the cost to taxpayers is $16.7 BILLION?

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Latest Home Sales Data and Predictions for 2010

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Case Shiller just released its latest report on the state of the residential estate market.  The good news is that home prices are falling more slowly.  The bad news is that that we have a little ways to go.

What the Numbers Show:

  • Through August, 2009, the price of an average home sold in the US fell approximately 13 percent, year over year, from 2008 levels.
  • Home prices have now dropped to 2003 valuation levels, wiping out 6 years of home appreciation.
  • Since the peak in 2006, average home prices are down 33 percent.

What Do the Numbers Say About the Future??

  • Prediction:  The “average” home price will likely fall more than 13 percent by year end.  Reason:  Home prices are always at their highest in the spring and summer.  Families move during this time of year and they buy the largest, most expensive properties.  As a result, Summer home sales skew the “average” price upward in the fall, but only temporarily.
  • Prediction:  Home Sales will suffer a downturn due to the expiration of the $8000 First Time Buyer’s Credit.   So far this year, 350,000 buyers have been persuaded to purchase because of this incentive.   To read more about the success of the 1st Time Home Buyers Tax Credit, CLICK HERE.

Our Crystal Ball:  The pace of the fall is slowing, but the expiration of the tax credit and the “shadow inventory” of another 1.5 Million foreclosures will continue to put downward pressure on the market in 2010.  As a result, we predict that 2010 home prices will decline 6-7 percent.  The upside is that nearly all buying risk is out of the market.  Interest rates are at historical lows.  Any increase in rates would erase the possible gain a buyer would achieve from correctly timing the exact bottom…even if the timing were perfect. 

Bottom Line:  If you plan to buy a home within the next year, now is a great time.   Chose the best home, in the best location and the one that you can easily afford.  Live and enjoy the home for at least 5 years and you will likely be patting yourself on the back for a job well done.

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Did First Time Buyer Tax Credit Help Sellers?

Monday, September 28, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

The $8000 Tax Credit for first time home buyer’s (people who have not owned a home in the last 3 years) expires on November 30, 2009.    With the expiration date drawing near, the Realtor and builder lobby groups are pushing lawmakers to extend the program for another 6 months.   If they are successful, it will cost taxpayers of nearly $15 BILLION.  

“Yea” or “Nay”???    Before we cast our vote, we decided to find out whether the tax incentive successful or not?  Specifically, did it persuade people to jump into the market?   Would it be a good investment for taxpayers going forward?

According to a poll conducted by Zillow, the tax credit was persuasive.

  • 18 percent of home buyers said the tax credit was the main reason they pushed to buy a home before November 30, 2010.
  • Based on the number of first time buyer’s in the marketplace, a 6 month extension could persuade another 335,000 (18 percent) buyers to buy a home of their own.
  • If the first time buyer credit is extended, home sales would likely increase 5 percent.  Without it, sales would be down as much as 2 percent.
  • Only 31 percent of first time buyers said the credit had no influence on their decision to purchase. 
  • 69 percent of buyers said the tax credit was important in motivating them to buy a home this year.

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Foreclosures Up. Home Prices Predicted to Fall Further

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow


In August, InfoTube warned its readers about the New Wave of Foreclosures that would be pounding the market, further driving up inventory and eroding prices.  Today, we learn that the Wall Street Journal agree’s with our accessment of the future market conditions for real estate.

Excerpt from the Wall Street Journal: 

“The size of this shadow inventory is a source of concern and debate among real-estate agents and analysts who worry that when the supply is unleashed, it could interrupt the budding housing recovery and ignite a new wave of stress in the housing market . . . Analysts who track the shadow market have focused primarily on the gap between the number of seriously delinquent loans and the number of foreclosed homes for sale by mortgage companies. A loan is considered seriously delinquent, which typically means it is headed to foreclosure, if it is 90 days or more past due.

As of July, mortgage companies hadn’t begun the foreclosure process on 1.2 million loans that were at least 90 days past due, according to estimates prepared for The Wall Street Journal by LPS Applied Analytics, which collects and analyzes mortgage data. An additional 1.5 million seriously delinquent loans were somewhere in the foreclosure process, though the lender hadn’t yet acquired the property. The figures don’t include home-equity loans and other second mortgages.

Moreover, there were 217,000 loans in July where the borrower hadn’t made a payment in at least a year but the lender hadn’t begun the foreclosure process. In other words, 17% of home mortgages that are at least 12 months overdue aren’t in foreclosure, up from 8% a year earlier.”

What this means for Home Seller’s:  Time is not your friend.  The shadow of inventory of distressed property will continue to place downward pressure on home prices.  Based upon our years of experience, we predict that home prices will fall an average of 7 percent in 2010.  

If you need to sell your home, DO NOT chase the market down.  Price your property aggressively, then market the home to as wide an audience as possible.  To learn about the best way to reach the mass buying market, CLICK HERE

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