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April 2009

FTC Offers "Red Flag" Compliance Website for Identity Theft Programs

FTC Offers "Red Flag" Compliance Website for Identity Theft Programs

FTC Offers "Red Flag" Compliance Website for Design of Identity Theft Programs On May 1, 2009, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched a new webpage designed to help "creditors" and "financial institutions" comply with "red flag" rules. The "red flag" rules are designed to identify and prevent identity theft. The website, Fighting Fraud with the Red Flags Rule: A Guide for Business, describes the entities covered and how to comply with its provisions.

Mortgage brokers and mortgage lenders that provide credit, or arrange for credit to be provided, are required to establish policies and procedures to prevent identity theft. A real estate agent may be considered a "creditor" if s/he regularly arranges for credit to be extended, e.g. regularly pulls credit reports, suggests potential lenders or helps with the loan applications.


Fannie Mae Issues Guidelines for Loan Limits in High Cost Areas

Fannie Mae Issues Guidelines for Loan Limits in High Cost Areas

On March 20, 2009 Fannie Mae Issued Announcement 09-08, implementing the 2009 conforming loan limits for high cost areas (known as high-balance loans), like New Jersey. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), loan limits on mortgages secured by Fannie Mae were increased. Loan limits from Fannie Mae are limited to $417,000 to $729,750, depending on the county where the home is located and the loan program. The guidelines instituted in the announcement apply to loans delivered to Fannie Mae starting May 1, 2009.

  • Loan must be conventional, first-lien mortgages only.
  • One to four unit properties are eligible.
  • Loans must be fixed-rate or adjustable rate loans (no balloons).
  • Loans must meet loan-to-value (LTV) and minimum credit score requirements. For one unit properties with a fixed rate mortgage, the maximum LTV is 90 percent. The minimum credit score is 700 for LTVs above 75 percent and 660 for LTVs at or below 75 percent. For one unit properties with an adjustable rate mortgage, the maximum LTV is 75 percent and the minimum credit score is 680. For second homes and investment properties, the maximum LTV is 65 percent and the minimum credit score is 740. Other rules apply to other categories.
See HUD's website for details on local loan limits and get more information regarding the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) on our FHA page.

IRS Provides Filing Guidance on First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

Home buyers wanting to utilize the newly improved home buyer tax credit have to wait until they complete the purchase and close or, in the case of new construction, take up residence to claim the credit, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says in a newly released filing guidance. For households that won't close before the April 15 tax-filing deadline, the guidance provides four options: 1) file an extension, 2) file now, amend later, 3) amend the 2008 tax return, or 4) claim the credit in 2009 rather than 2008. Read the IRS guidance.

Thoughts On Home Staging

It is a quick, intensive house make over that creates a theater for the home buyer. Staiging is a hybrid of advertising and marketing, which carefully designs the house to appeal to the statistically probable buyer.
Stagers create a property to appeal to the buyers not how they live NOW but how they aspire to live.
Homes that have been staged get faster market attention, sell rapidly for a higher price, are more organized and make the moving process lerss stressful for the seller

Top 10 World's Most Expesive Real Estate

Global Property Guide's 2009 List of the world's most expensive real estate is:

  1. Monte Carlo $45,000 per square metre( = .8361 square yard)
  2. Central Moscow $20,853 per square metre
  3. London $20756
  4. Tokyo $17,998
  5. Hong Kong $16,125
  6. New York $14,898
  7. Paris $12,122
  8. Singapore $9,701
  9. Rome $9,166
  10. Mumbai $9,163

For more info you can visit

APRIL 2009 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter

APRIL 2009 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter

Welcome to the most current Housing Trends eNewsletter. This eNewsletter is specially designed for you, with national and local housing information that you may find useful whether you’re in the market for a home, thinking about selling your home, or just interested in homeowner issues in general.

The Housing Trends eNewsletter contains the latest information from the National Association of REALTORS®, the U.S. Census Bureau and reports, videos, key market indicators and real estate sales statistics, a video message by a nationally recognized economist, maps, mortgage rates and calculators, consumer articles, plus local neighborhood information and more. Please click here to view the APRIL 2009 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter.

If you are interested in determining the value of your home, click the Home Evaluator link for a free evaluation report.