March 2011 Archives

March 28, 2011

Good News for Home Sellers: You're Competing With Less New Construction Than Ever

daffodil.jpgThe spring real estate market is upon us, with open house signs sprouting up right alongside the daffodils. If you're a seller, this can feel like a mixed blessing -- buyers are showing renewed interest, but you're facing increasing competition from other sellers, in a market that's still pretty slow.

But here's some news to help build your confidence: According to Metrostudy (as reported on by Shawn Tully of Fortune, in an article called "Real estate: It's time to buy again"), there's a major shortage of new construction going on in the United States.

Just a few years ago, we were looking at a glut of new homes, luring some homebuyers away from established neighborhoods into new developments. But no more.

What's more, demand for homes to buy may be poised to go up, as apartment rentals have become expensive and harder to come by. (The huge numbers of people who've been foreclosed upon are a factor here -- they're hardly going to want to, or be able to, rush back into homeownership.)

All of which is to say that, no matter what's for sale down the block from you, your place may still be relatively unique, among a amount of housing stock available to prospective homebuyers. And all it takes is one buyer.
March 18, 2011

Overdraft Protection Worse for Credit Score Than Bouncing a Check?

Yes, I was surprised too. But apparently opting  for overdraft protection on a checking account may result in a credit inquiry and is viewed similarly to you adding another credit card to your mix, both of which can actually hurt your score a bit. Meanwhile, banks don't report bounced checks to the credit bureaus. And as every homebuyer knows, every point on your credit score can be important when qualifying for a mortgage to buy a home.

Get the details in Marcie Geffner's article, "Banking and Your Credit Score."
March 10, 2011

Dale Robyn Siegel Interviews Nolo Author George Devine

BHCA13.gifThis just in: An online interview between mortgage broker and writer Dale Robyn Siegel and Nolo's own George Devine, co-author of How to Buy a House in California.

One of the bits of George's advice that you might be tempted to speed past is that you make "checklists of priorities" concerning your home purchase. As any real estate agent will tell you, many home buyers spend weeks or months more than they could have looking at homes, unable to decide, because they didn't really know (or agree, in the case of a couple) what they wanted in the first place.

How to Buy a House in California helps you set priorities ahead of time, by providing checklists where you can specify what you want -- whether it's a big kitchen, a good school district, or room for an arts studio -- and decide how important each home feature is to you. Then you can carry your checklist with you while househunting, to keep yourself on track.  

And don't forget, if you add a comment concerning the Siegel interview, you qualify for a free-book giveaway!