Monthly Archives: April 2009

When Was Your Last Energy Audit??

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Are you Near the Edge????

As my sister persuaded me away from the ledge today with chocolate and Diet Dr. Pepper, I begin to wonder, “Am I alone?” Am I the only one tired of all of this bad news? Am I the only one who thinks that if we only report bad news, that we will create more sinking stock markets, scared to invest investors, and inevitably, even more bad news?? Are you confused about what exactly the economic indicators are indicating? Are you getting your professional act right on; going to work on time, eating lunch at your desk, leaving late? Or, are you un- or underemployed wondering how long your finances can await change from this new administration? Dang, do you just neeeed a lil change?? I think we all have our own private obstacles right now and we all have to find that special someone or something positive to get us from the ledge. While trying to locate my own opportunities in the mist of all of this turmoil, I suggest you try to come out of this recession, your oppression, or even the ledge, a better educated creative individual. A couple of suggestions:

This is a great time to further your education. That MBA or Masters you always wanted, now is the time to go get it.

Don’t need another degree but want more skills? Take individual classes at Houston Community College or Leisure Learning University in Houston.

More businesses start from recessions than during good financial times, probably out of necessity. Take business classes including writing a business plan, deciding upon an idea, and internet marketing. Check out

www.sbdc.uh.edu

But definitely, most importantly, inch away from the ledge . . .

Making Home Affordable Program

 On February 18, 2009, President Obama announced his Making Home Affordable Program, designed to help up to 7-9 million families avoid foreclosure by restructuring or refinancing their mortgages. In doing so, the plan not only helps responsible homeowners behind on their payments or at risk of defaulting, but prevents neighborhoods and communities from being pulled over the edge too, as defaults and foreclosures contribute to falling home values, failing local businesses, and lost jobs. Check out the requirements below.

Eligibility and Verification

  1. Loans originated on or before January 1, 2009.
  2. First-lien loans on owner-occupied properties with unpaid principal balance up to $729,750. Higher limits allowed for owner-occupied properties with 2-4 units.
  3. All borrowers must fully document income, including signed IRS 4506-T, two most recent pay stubs, and most recent tax return, and must sign an affidavit of financial hardship.
  4. Property owner occupancy status will be verified through borrower credit report and other documentation; no investor-owned, vacant, or condemned properties.
  5. Incentives to lenders and servicers to modify at risk borrowers who have not yet missed payments when the servicer determines that the borrower is at imminent risk of default.
  6. Modifications can start from now until December 31, 2012; loans can be modified only once under the program.

Loan Modification Terms and Procedures

  1. Participating servicers are required to service all eligible loans under the rules of the program unless explicitly prohibited by contract; servicers are required to use reasonable efforts to obtain waivers of limits on participation.
  2. Participating loan servicers will be required to use a net present value (NPV) test on each loan that is at risk of imminent default or at least 60 days delinquent. The NPV test will compare the net present value of cash flows with modification and without modification. If the test is positive

Rise in Home Sales

Every market is made up of several mini markets, however, this video can give you an idea how the real estate market in the United States is doing as a whole.

Do you Qualify for the $8000 Tax Credit???

The homebuyer tax credit is one of 10 key provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by President Obama into law on Feb. 17, 2009.

The bill provides for an $8,000 tax credit that would be available to first-time home buyers for the purchase of a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.  The credit does not require repayment.  Most of the mechanics of the credit will be the same as under the 2008 rules:  the credit will be claimed on a tax return to reduce the purchaser’s income tax liability.  If any credit amount remains unused, then the unused amount will be refunded as a check to the purchaser. Some features of the program are:

*      Eligible properties are single-family residences, condos, co-ops, or townhomes

*      Credit reduces or can eliminate income tax liability for the year of purchase.  Any unused amount of tax credit refunded to purchaser

*      Income limit of no more than 75K for single or 150k for a joint tax return

*      Must be a first time homebuyer or not purchased a home within the last 3 years

*      No repayment for purchases made between January 1, 2009- December 1, 2009

Along with again, historically low mortgage loan interest rates, this tax credit could be your ticket to getting into a home in 2009. Contact your Realtor to get the latest requirements and FAQs sheet to make sure you are aware of the all of the opportunities and programs in Texas. 

Houston Tops List of Best Cities

 
Houston is the best city in the United States in which to live, work and play, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

The Bayou City — billed by the magazine as the Comeback Kid — ranks No. 1 on the magazine’s Best Cities of 2008 list, which focuses on strong economies, abundant jobs, reasonable living costs and fun things to do.

“Back with a roar after the oil bust of the 1980s, Houston has reclaimed its title as energy capital of the U.S. and added aerospace, technology and medical companies to the mix, generating more than 100,000 jobs in 2007,” said the report which will appear in the magazine’s July issue.

Austin is the only other Texas city to feature in the Top 10 list, coming in at No. 6.

In second place is Raleigh, N.C., followed by Omaha, Neb.; Boise, Idaho; and Colorado Springs, Colo. In seventh place was Fayetteville, Ark.; followed by Sacramento, Calif.; Des Moines, Iowa; and Provo, Utah.