Diana's Neighborhood

Real Estate in New York & Connecticut – Won't you be my neighbor?



Monster Mash….

October 31, 2010 Posted by | Fun Post, Halloween, Uncategorized, You Tube | , , , | Leave a comment

Halloween Gingerbread House

Halloween Gingerbread House…

Recipe from allrecipes.com

                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   CLICK Here to View  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                              Wendy Piersall – Flickr.com

October 31, 2010 Posted by | Baking, Halloween, Recipes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Baking Halloween Treats

Baking Halloween Treats with FoodNetwork.com

                                                          Juushika Redgrave – Flickr.com

                                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to view VIDEO  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                             nikkicookiebaker – Flickr.com

October 30, 2010 Posted by | Baking, Halloween, Recipes, The Food Network, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Food Network Stars’ Pumpkin Carving Contest

Food Network Stars’ Pumpkin Carving Contest….

                                                             sara.atkins – www.Flickr.com

                                         ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK to View  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                         Robert S. Donovan – Flickr.com

October 29, 2010 Posted by | Fun Post, Halloween, The Food Network | , , , , | Leave a comment

Decorate Your Home For Halloween

Decorate Your Home For Halloween with help from Good Morning America!

                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                     PV KS – Flickr.com

October 29, 2010 Posted by | Decorate, Good Morning America, Halloween, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Halloween Safety

Halloween Safety Tips from Good Morning America…

                                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                 drcorneilus – Flickr.com

October 29, 2010 Posted by | Good Morning America, Halloween | , , | Leave a comment

Scariest Places on Earth

Scariest Places on Earth from About.com

                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                 ~Duncan~ – Flickr.com

October 28, 2010 Posted by | Halloween, Home, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Ghostly Recipes for a Delicious Halloween

Ghostly Recipes for a Delicious Halloween!

Great Kraft Foods Recipes…

                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK HERE  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                norwichnuts – Flickr.com

October 27, 2010 Posted by | Baking, Halloween, Kraft Foods, Recipes, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent

Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent

Here is a great video from RealEstate.aol.com

                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View VIDEO  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                 sskennel – Flickr.com

October 27, 2010 Posted by | Real Estate, Realtor | , , , | Leave a comment

My Bubba

This is my Bubba… I am addicted to my Bubba.

Have you had your Bubba today?

October 26, 2010 Posted by | Fun Post | , , | Leave a comment

Why You Should Work With a Realtor

Sharing another post from Realtor Magazine – Realtor.org

Why You Should Work With a REALTOR®

Not all real estate practitioners are REALTORS®. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Here are five reasons why it pays to work with a REALTOR®.

1. You’ll have an expert to guide you through the process. Buying or selling a home usually requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multi-page settlement statements. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.

2. Get objective information and opinions. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They’ll also be able to provide objective information about each property. A professional will be able to help you answer these two important questions: Will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?

3. Find the best property out there. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your REALTOR® to find all available properties.

4. Benefit from their negotiating experience. There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, and inclusion or exclusion of repairs, furnishings, or equipment. In addition, the purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

5. Property marketing power. Real estate doesn’t sell due to advertising alone. In fact, a large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner’s contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, and family. When a property is marketed with the help of a REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

6. Real estate has its own language. If you don’t know a CMA from a PUD, you can understand why it’s important to work with a professional who is immersed in the industry and knows the real estate language.

7. REALTORS® have done it before. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. And even if you’ve done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS®, on the other hand, handle hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career. Having an expert on your side is critical.

8. Buying and selling is emotional. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security — it’s not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, home buying and selling can be an emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.

9. Ethical treatment. Every member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® makes a commitment to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. As a customer of a REALTOR®, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters. It is mandatory for REALTORS® to take the Code of Ethics orientation and they are also required to complete a refresher course every four years.






October 26, 2010 Posted by | Buyers, Real Estate, Realtor, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Ball Pond ~ New Fairfield CT

My clients view from their new home in New Fairfield CT.   Aren’t
water views awesome!  


October 26, 2010 Posted by | Ball Pond, Connecticut, New Fairfield, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

7 Reasons To Own Your Home

Sharing this post from Realtor Magazine – Realtor.org

7 Reasons to Own Your Home

1. Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home.

2. Appreciation. Real estate has long-term, stable growth in value. While year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing-home sale prices have increased on average 6.5 percent each year from 1972 through 2005, and increased 88.5 percent over the last 10 years, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.

3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.

4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.

5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will increase.

6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.

7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.

Online resources: To calculate whether buying is the best financial option for you, use the “Buy vs. Rent” calculator at www.GinnieMae.gov.


October 25, 2010 Posted by | Buyers, Home, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Autumn in Pawling NY

Autumn in Pawling NY…

Here are some Fall photos taken during Realtor Open House Day last week in Pawling NY

October 24, 2010 Posted by | Autumn, Fall, NY, Pawling, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Flickr Foto Fun Friday Post – Pumpkins!

Flickr Foto Fun Friday Post – Pumpkins!  So much to do with Pumpkins this time of the year.  Use them for cooking and baking, carving and decorating,  use them in Fall Fest games, grow and compete with them… so much to do with this gourd-like squash!

                                                      Pink Sherbet Photography – Flickr.com

                                                             Joe Shlabotnik – Flickr.com

                                                                 orangeacid – Flickr.com

                                                                 norwichnuts – Flickr.com

                                                                  jurvetson – Flickr.com

                                                                 Andrew Atzert – Flickr.com

October 22, 2010 Posted by | Fall, Flickr Foto Fun Friday Post, Fun Post, Halloween | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Spooky Dinner

Here are some Spooky Dinner Ideas from Pillsbury.com

                                                                       Crystl – Flickr.com

October 21, 2010 Posted by | Halloween, Pillsbury, Recipes, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Fielding a Lowball Purchase Offer on Your Home

Brought to you by the National Association of Realtors®

Fielding a Lowball Purchase Offer on Your Home

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  • By: Marcie Geffner

    Published 2010-06-10 09:53:36

    Consider before you ignore or outright refuse a very low purchase offer for your home. A counteroffer and negotiation could turn that low purchase offer into a sale.

    Couple signing counterofferWhen you receive a low offer on your house, the best response is to counter with a price you’re willing to accept. Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

    You just received a purchase offer from someone who wants to buy your home. You’re excited and relieved, until you realize the purchase offer is much lower than your asking price. How should you respond? Set aside your emotions, focus on the facts, and prepare a counteroffer that keeps the buyers involved in the deal.

    Check your emotions

    A purchase offer, even a very low one, means someone wants to purchase your home. Unless the offer is laughably low, it deserves a cordial response, whether that’s a counteroffer or an outright rejection. Remain calm and discuss with your real estate agent the many ways you can respond to a lowball purchase offer.

    Counter the purchase offer

    Unless you’ve received multiple purchase offers, the best response is to counter the low offer with a price and terms you’re willing to accept. Some buyers make a low offer because they think that’s customary, they’re afraid they’ll overpay, or they want to test your limits.

    A counteroffer signals that you’re willing to negotiate. One strategy for your counteroffer is to lower your price, but remove any concessions such as seller assistance with closing costs, or features such as kitchen appliances that you’d like to take with you.

    Consider the terms

    Price is paramount for most buyers and sellers, but it’s not the only deal point. A low purchase offer might make sense if the contingencies are reasonable, the closing date meets your needs, and the buyer is preapproved for a mortgage. Consider what terms you might change in a counteroffer to make the deal work.

    Review your comps

    Ask your REALTOR® whether any homes that are comparable to yours (known as “comps”) have been sold or put on the market since your home was listed for sale. If those new comps are at lower prices, you might have to lower your price to match them if you want to sell.

    Consider the buyer’s comps

    Buyers sometimes attach comps to a low offer to try to convince the seller to accept a lower purchase offer. Take a look at those comps. Are the homes similar to yours? If so, your asking price might be unrealistic. If not, you might want to include in your counteroffer information about those homes and your own comps that justify your asking price.

    If the buyers don’t include comps to justify their low purchase offer, have your real estate agent ask the buyers’ agent for those comps.

    Get the agents together

    If the purchase offer is too low to counter, but you don’t have a better option, ask your real estate agent to call the buyer’s agent and try to narrow the price gap so that a counteroffer would make sense. Also, ask your real estate agent whether the buyer (or buyer’s agent) has a reputation for lowball purchase offers. If that’s the case, you might feel freer to reject the offer.

    Don’t signal desperation

    Buyers are sensitive to signs that a seller may be receptive to a low purchase offer. If your home is vacant or your home’s listing describes you as a “motivated” seller, you’re signaling you’re open to a low offer.

    If you can remedy the situation, maybe by renting furniture or asking your agent not to mention in your home listing that you’re motivated, the next purchase offer you get might be more to your liking.

    More from HouseLogic

    6 Tips for Choosing the Best Purchase Offer for Your Home

    6 Reasons to Reduce Your Home Price

    Marcie Geffner is a freelance reporter who has been writing about real estate, homeownership and mortgages for 20 years. She owns a ranch-style house built in 1941 and updated in the 1990s, in Los Angeles.

    More From HouseLogic

    Visit HouseLogic

    Read more: http://buyandsell.houselogic.com/articles/fielding-lowball-purchase-offer-your-home/#ixzz12BTQOMTR

    October 20, 2010 Posted by | Buyers, Home, Real Estate | , , , | Leave a comment

    Devilish Halloween Desserts

    Devilish Halloween Desserts from FoodNetwork.com

                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View RECIPES  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                       theogeo – Flickr.com

    October 19, 2010 Posted by | Baking, Halloween, Recipes, The Food Network | , , , , | Leave a comment

    Pros & Cons of Buying New Construction

    The Pros & Cons of Buying New Construction from RealEstate.aol.com

                                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View VIDEO  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                 Martin Pettitt – Flickr.com

    October 19, 2010 Posted by | Buyers, Home, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

    Selling Your Home in Today’s Market

    Home Sellers Must Look Beyond Price Cuts in Today’s Market

    By Kathleen LynnPrint Article Print Article

    RISMEDIA, October 15, 2010—(MCT)—Ken and Linda Bolsch put their five-bedroom, five-year-old Mahwah, N.J., colonial on the market in January, sure that buyers would appreciate its low taxes, wooded lot, and impeccable decor and landscaping. But after nine months—and a price cut from $925,000 to $749,000—the house is still on the market, with the couple looking at a substantial loss at that price. “We fell in love with the house from the moment we saw it, and we don’t know why other people aren’t doing the same,” Ken Bolsch said.  “We’re so confused and confounded about the whole thing.”

    These are tough days for sellers. Sales have plunged at least 20% from last year’s numbers, following the expiration of a federal tax credit for home buyers, and the real estate market is headed into a traditionally slow season. Small wonder that sellers feel discouraged and disappointed.

    Bob Sandusky of Weichert, the Bolsches’ agent, sums up sellers’ feelings in one word: “frustration.”

    “They’re angry. They’re bitter. They’re in a bad place; they’re in a sad place,” said Attilio Adamo of Prudential Adamo Realty in Harrington Park, N.J.

    The usual prescription for a house that won’t sell is simple: Cut the price. “If the seller allows you to price it right, it goes,” said Roslyn Breitstein of Prudential Adamo.

    But many sellers can’t stomach that thought. If they bought within the past few years, they may have mortgages bigger than the amount they could get for the house.

    “They can’t believe that their house could be worth 30 percent less than what their neighbor got a few years ago,” said Barbara Liati of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Tenafly, N.J. In fact, there’s one sentence that real estate agents hear over and over: “I’m not giving my house away.”

    “It seems no matter what a person bought their home for, they do not feel in this economy they are getting the real value for their home,” said Ellen Weiner, a Weichert agent in Clifton, N.J.

    And sellers have to deal with buyers who feel they have the upper hand. Buyers ask for lower prices, even if the price has already been cut. After a home is inspected, buyers will push sellers to correct even minor problems, agents say.

    Moreover, buyers are in no rush to make an offer. “They’re worried about their jobs,” said Dick O’Connor, a Dumont, N.J., broker. “People are looking at houses, but they won’t buy.”

    “Buyers keep thinking there’s going to be a better deal around the corner,” Adamo said.

    “The buyer population out there wants it for nothing, and they want all the bling,” said Elizabeth Sarkozi, a corporate tax manager who put her four-bedroom, 52-year-old Englewood Cliffs, N.J., split-level on the market last February, asking $925,000.

    She expected it to sell quickly because of the town’s relatively low taxes and location near New York City’s George Washington Bridge. But although she has dropped the price to $899,000, she has not found a buyer.

    Sarkozi has not updated her house with all the extras some buyers seem to expect—whirlpool tubs in the bathroom, granite countertops in the kitchen. But she thinks they wouldn’t be happy anyway: “I’m convinced that even if I had granite countertops, they’d say, ‘You have gray—I wanted brown.’”

    She has seen nearby properties go for $200,000 or more off their listing price. She figures those sellers may be under pressure to sell because of job losses or trouble paying the mortgage. She is not in that position, but the distressed sales are hurting the value of her property, she said.

    “I have a sense that people are holding back to see how much lower things will go,” Sarkozi said. “It’s a waiting game. Your property is really worth what someone is willing to pay for it, but I’m not going to give it away. I’ve done everything I can and when it’s still not working, what am I supposed to do? Manufacture a buyer?

    “It’s a very frustrating market right now, and I’m really not hopeful until I see an uptick in employment,” she continued. “I don’t expect to sell the house anytime soon. It may be spring before I sell it.”

    Agents often remind sellers that the lower price they get when they sell will be offset by the lower price they will pay on the next property.

    That’s the attitude of Samantha and John Karageorge, who have signed a contract to sell their 20-year-old Demarest, N.J., contemporary. They’re selling for less than what they’ve spent on the house, including the 2006 purchase price and the cost of extensive renovations.

    An interior designer with S and S Designs, Samantha said she is looking for another house to improve. In the current market, she expects to find some attractive deals.

    “This market is going to work to our benefit on the buy side this time,” she said.

    But many sellers find it tough to keep that in mind when a buyer is low-balling them.

    Some sellers face unusual challenges beyond the market climate. In Pompton Lakes, N.J., banker Keith Orotosky put his expanded Cape Cod on the market last May. The meticulously updated and landscaped house is on a dead-end street just a few blocks from the lake. But Orotosky has had no offers, despite lowering the price to $379,900.

    The house is in the so-called plume area, where hazardous chemicals from a nearby defunct DuPont munitions factory have been seeping under houses. Orotosky accepted DuPont’s offer to install a venting system to draw the dangerous vapors out of the basement.

    “But people look at Pompton Lakes, and say, ‘I don’t want it,’” Orotosky said. He added, half-seriously, “There’s only two sections—plume or flood.”

    When Orotosky’s parents moved from Paterson, N.J., and bought the house in 1950, they weren’t concerned about the DuPont plant. “Who knew?” Orotosky said.

    He said the closest thing he’s gotten to an offer was a prospective buyer who asked his agent if Orotosky would take $175,000—more than half off his asking price.

    The Bolsches think their location, on Mahwah’s Stag Hill, is also working against them. Though they are only about two miles from Route 17 and Route 287, some prospective buyers find the area too rural; they say they want more of a “neighborhood” feel, with other kids nearby for their children to play with. Others say they are intimidated by the twisting road through the woods up the hill, although the Bolsches and their agent assure them that Mahwah keeps it clear during snowy weather.

    Ken Bolsch, a former restaurateur and caterer, said he “felt like I was in Vermont” when he first saw the house. He and his wife bought it from the builder in February 2005, paying $812,000. The 4,000-square-foot house has granite countertops and other upscale touches, and is on a sloping lot studded with boulders and landscaped with stone walls. Its taxes are only $5,900—low for North Jersey.

    In January, after deciding to move to Florida to help their son start a power-washing business, the couple put the house on the market for $925,000. “I knew that was kind of pie-in-the-sky, but I thought, ‘Let’s see what happens,’” Bolsch, recalled. “I thought we’d be out before Memorial Day.” But it’s still on the market, now at $749,000.

    (c) 2010, North Jersey Media Group Inc.

    Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

    RISMedia welcomes your questions and comments. Send your e-mail to: realestatemagazinefeedback@rismedia.com.

    Have you heard about RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN)? RREIN is an elite network of leading real estate companies dedicated to providing consumers and their agents with leading real estate information, and committed to the belief that Information Share Equals Market Share. Having only launched this past June 2010, the RREIN network is already comprised of 30 leading brokerages, which make up 525 offices, 30,000 agents, 160,000 closings and represents over $40 billion in transactions. How can RREIN help your recruiting efforts and differentiate your company today? For more information, email rrein@rismedia.com.

    Copyright© 2010 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.



    October 17, 2010 Posted by | Home, Real Estate, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

    It’s Halloween Time!

    It’s Halloween Time!  Here are some great tips from HGTV for a Ghoulish Halloween!

                                                                   Joelshing V2.3d – Flickr.com

                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                          ms.Tea – Flickr.com

    October 17, 2010 Posted by | Halloween, HGTV, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

    Baking Pies

    Baking Pies in the Fall warms the kitchen and my belly!  Apple and Pumpkin are my favorite…

                                                              thebittenword.com – Flickr.com

                                                                      cardamom – Flickr.com

    October 16, 2010 Posted by | Apples, Autumn, Baking, Fall, Recipes, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Home Inspection for Sellers

    Home Inspection for Sellers…

    Here is another great video from RealEstate.aol.com

                                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View VIDEO  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                         Joanne Maley – Lincoln Maly Marketing

    October 16, 2010 Posted by | Home, Sellers, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

    How to Carve a Pumpkin

    How to Carve a Pumpkin with the help of About.com

                                                                   Joe Shlabotnik – Flickr.com

                                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View  ~~~~~~~~~~~~                                                                   Plutor – Flickr.com

    October 14, 2010 Posted by | Halloween, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

    Make Your House FHA-Loan Friendly

    Brought to you by the National Association of Realtors®

    Make Your House FHA-Loan Friendly

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  • By: Terry Sheridan

    Published 2010-06-02 08:37:43

    Know the basics of FHA loan rules and you stand a better chance of selling your house or condo.

    Row house exteriorsMost buyers will expect a home inspection, including a form outlining what the inspection revealed. Image: Library of Congress/ Prints & Photographs Div./FSA-OWI/LC-USF35-629

    Make your house FHA-friendly, and it will appeal to more homebuyers. Why? Because the Federal Housing Administration is insuring the mortgage loans used by about 30% of today’s homebuyers.

    If your house passes the FHA rules, it will appeal to buyers who plan to use an FHA-insured mortgage. If your house doesn’t qualify for an FHA loan, you’re cutting out 30% of potential buyers.

    FHA is especially important to first-time homebuyers and those with small downpayments because it allows borrowers with good credit to make a downpayment as low as 3.5% of the purchase price.

    Here’s how to make your home appealing to FHA borrowers:

    Know the FHA loan limits in your area

    Start by checking to see if your home’s listed price falls within FHA lending limits for your area. FHA mortgage limits vary a lot. In San Francisco, FHA will insure a mortgage of up to $729,750 on a single-family home. In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the loan limit is $271,050.

    Home inspections

    Most buyers will ask for a home inspection, whether or not they’re using an FHA loan to buy the home. You must give FHA buyers a form explaining what home inspections can reveal, and how inspections differ from appraisals.

    How much do you have to repair?

    If the home inspection reveals problems, FHA will not give the okay to buy the home until you repair serious defects like roof leaks, mold, structural damage, and pre-1978 interior or exterior paint that could contain lead.

    Dealing with FHA appraisers

    Help the lender’s appraiser by providing easy access to attics and crawl spaces, which usually must be photographed, says appraiser Frank Gregoire in St. Petersburg, Fla.

    Your buyer can hire his own appraiser to evaluate your home. But FHA only relies on reports by its approved appraisers. If the two appraisals conflict, the FHA appraisal preempts the buyer’s appraisal.

    Help with FHA closing costs

    Most FHA buyers need help with closing costs, says mortgage banker Susan Herman of First Equity Mortgage Bankers in Miami. So a prime way to make your house FHA-friendly is to help with those costs.

    FHA currently allows sellers to pay up to 6% of the sales price to help cover closing costs, but is considering lowering that limit to 3% in the fall of 2010. 

    If you’re selling a condo

    FHA also has to approve your condo before a buyer uses an FHA loan to purchase your unit. Be sure your condo is FHA-approved for mortgages. The list has been updated, so if your association was approved a year ago, check again to make sure it’s still on the approved list.

    FHA generally won’t insure loans in condo associations if more than 15% percent of the unit owners are late on association fees. Ask your property manager or board of directors for your association’s delinquency rate.

    Other rules cover insurances, cash reserves and how many units are owner-occupied and the types of condos that can be purchased with an FHA mortgage.

    FHA sometimes issues waivers for healthy condominiums that don’t meet the regular rules. If your condo isn’t FHA-approved, it doesn’t necessarily have to meet every single rule to gain approval. Ask your REALTOR® to consult with local lenders about getting an FHA waiver for your condo if it doesn’t meet all the requirements.

    FHA also limits its mortgage exposure in homeowners associations. With some limited exceptions, no more than 50% of the units in an association can be FHA-insured.

    FHA loans for planned-unit developments

    FHA no longer requires lenders to review budgets and legal documents for planned-unit developments.

    More from HouseLogic

    Show Your Support for FHA

    Other web resources

    Why Ask for an FHA Loan?

    Find a State Program to Help Homebuyers Afford Your Home

    Terry Sheridan is an award-winning freelance writer who has covered real estate for 20 years, and has owned and sold three homes.

    More From HouseLogic

    Visit HouseLogic

    Read more: http://buyandsell.houselogic.com/articles/make-your-house-fha-loan-friendly/#ixzz12BSuCP3Q

    October 14, 2010 Posted by | Buyers, Home, Real Estate | , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake – YUM!

    Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake – YUM!  Recipe from KraftFoods.com

                                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View Recipe  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                    barisione – Flickr.com

    October 13, 2010 Posted by | Baking, Kraft Foods, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

    Should You Move or Remodel?

    Brought to you by the National Association of Realtors®

    Should You Move or Remodel?

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  • By: Dona DeZube

    Published 2010-08-24 15:17:58

    When your house no longer suits you, you can move or remodel. Find out which big change is the right investment of your housing dollars.

    Sawhorse in home under renovationCalculate how much your remodel will cost and add it to the value of your house. If the number is more than 10% above your neighbors’ house values, you’re over-improving. Image: Masterfile
    Deciding whether you should move or remodel? The most important things you need to consider are the four things you can’t change: your home’s value compared to the rest of the neighborhood, how much you love your neighborhood, the size of your lot, and the cost to move your stuff to a new house.

    Just about everything else—remodeling costs, the hassle of living in a construction zone, or the ability to live happily without one more bathroom—is a personal preference. After all, your home isn’t just your largest investment; it’s also the place where your family lives.

    1. Will remodeling make your home better than everyone else’s?

    To make the right move-or-remodel decision, you have to know:

    • Your home’s value. Easy. Just ask a REALTOR® to estimate it and tell you how it compares with the value of the other homes in your immediate neighborhood. Ask her what she thinks your house will be worth after the improvements, too.
    • Your neighbors’ home value. Hit some open houses. Seeing the inside of area homes will inspire you; help you make good choices about finishes, room sizes, and how much to spend; and, admit it, entertain you.
    • Your remodeling costs. Once you’ve got your renovation vision, get a quote from a home improvement contractor or, if you’re remodeling it yourself, tally the costs of the items on your supplies shopping list.

    Then add the remodeling costs to the value of your home. If the number you get is more than 10% above the average value of homes in your neighborhood, you’re over-improving and probably won’t be able to sell for what you put into the remodel.

    Here’s why: No one wants to buy the most expensive home on the block (your home) if they can spend the same money to get a similar home on a block of higher-priced homes. Would you pay $200,000 to live on a block where all the other homes are valued at $100,000? We hope not.

    Make home improvements that are typical for the neighborhood. Don’t put granite countertops in a trailer, and don’t put laminate countertops in a Trump Tower condo. Your tour of open houses gives you a chance to verify that your planned remodel isn’t an over- or under-improvement for the neighborhood.

    2. Do you love where you live?

    Want to keep your kids in the same school district, but can’t find or afford a bigger, better house? Love the neighbors? Have an easy commute to work? Stay put. If you’ve soured on the traffic, the neighborhood’s crime rate, or the nosy neighbors, move on.

    3. Do you have room to expand?

    If your remodeling plans include increasing the overall size of your home, the size of your lot may be the deciding factor in whether to move or remodel. If you live in a 1,500 sq. ft. ranch on a 3,000 sq. ft. lot, you might be able to add a second story to turn it into a 3,000 sq. ft. two-story, but you’re not likely to add 1,500 sq. ft. at ground level. And if you have a septic tank and well, the location of those will limit how and where you add onto your home (or cost you a bundle to move).

    4. Can you afford to move?

    Consider these moving costs: sale costs for your existing home, shipping your household goods, buying window treatments and possibly furniture for the new house, costs to fix up your existing home before sale, higher utility costs (if your next house is bigger), insurance cost differences, and property taxes.

    More from HouseLogic

    Q&A: Author Sarah Susanka Talks Budget-Smart Remodeling

    Should You Move or Improve?

    Other web resources

    Find your local remodelers

    Average project cost

    Dona DeZube, HouseLogic’s news editor, moved across the same street twice when she remodeled two houses in Columbia, Maryland, before she moved to a house in Clarksville, Maryland. She remodeled that house and then moved back to the same street in Columbia. She despises moving, but her husband loves remodeling.

    More From HouseLogic

    Visit HouseLogic

    Read more: http://buyandsell.houselogic.com/articles/should-you-move-or-remodel/#ixzz12BIaH0zE

    October 12, 2010 Posted by | Home, Real Estate, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Scary Homes For Sale

    Scary Homes For Sale – RealEstate.aol.com – Buyers Beware: Was That House a Crime Scene? 

                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View Article  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                     Bee Skutch – Flickr.com

    October 12, 2010 Posted by | Halloween, Real Estate, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

    Throw a Halloween Party

    Are you throwing a Halloween Party? – Need some spooktacular ideas? – Here’s a few ideas from about.com

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                                                                Tammra McCauley – Flickr.com

    and HomeMadeSimple.com

                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~  CLICK Here to View  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                       kkimpel – Flickr.com

    October 11, 2010 Posted by | Halloween, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

    Bake a Cake

    I’m in the mood to Bake a Cake!  Joy the Baker has some great choices…

                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~CLICK Here to View Recipes  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                     joyosity – Flickr.com

    October 10, 2010 Posted by | Apples, Baking, Recipes, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment