Monthly Archives: July 2014

10-Step Guide to Buying a House

Jul
30
2014

1. Are You Ready to Become a Homeowner?
Whether you’re becoming a homeowner for the first time or you’re a repeat buyer, buying a house is a financial and emotional decision that requires the experience and support of a team of reliable professionals. Read More>

2. Get a REALTOR®
In the maze of forms, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing and negotiating, it makes sense to work with professionals who know the community and much more. Those professionals are the local REALTORS® who serve your area. Read More>

3. Get a Mortgage Pre-approval
Most first-time buyers need to finance their home purchase, and a consultation with a mortgage lender is a crucial step in the process. Find out how much you can afford before you begin your home search. Read More>

4. Look at Homes
A quick search on realtor.com® will bring up thousands of homes for sale. Educating yourself on your local market and working with an experienced REALTOR® can help you narrow your priorities and make an informed decision about which home to choose. Read More>

5. Choose a Home
While no one can know for sure what will happen to housing values, if you choose to buy a home that meets your needs and priorities, you’ll be happy living in it for years to come. Read More>

6. Get Funding
The cost of financing your home purchase is usually greater than the price of the home itself (after interest, closing costs and taxes are added). Get as much information as possible regarding your mortgage options and other costs. Read More>

7. Make an Offer
While much attention is paid to the asking price of a home, a proposal to buy includes both the price and terms. In some cases, terms can represent thousands of dollars in additional value – or additional costs – for buyers. Read More>

8. Get Insurance
No sensible car owner would drive without insurance, so it figures that no homeowner should be without insurance, either. Real estate insurance protects owners in the event of catastrophe. If something goes wrong, insurance can be the bargain of a lifetime. Read More>

9. Closing
The closing process, which in different parts of the country is also known as “settlement” or “escrow”, is increasingly computerized and automated. In practice, closings bring together a variety of parties who are part of the real estate transaction. Read More>

10. What’s Next?
You’ve done it. You’ve looked at properties, made an offer, obtained financing and gone to closing. The home is yours. Is there any more to the home buying process? Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, you’ll want to take several more steps. Read More>

 

 

 

Whilst the above article is geared primarily for the US market, most of the tips/links would relate to the Canadian market. Source is Realtor.com with the “Read More” links landing at the corresponding Realtor.com webpage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ireland Housing “Bubble”?

Jul
7
2014

Being an Irishman, born and raised in Rathfarnham, Dublin and since 2000, living and working in Vancouver Canada, I like to keep up with the markets in Ireland……. The following is an article that was in the Financial Times.

“Ireland house prices raise fears of a new bubble”

No 36 Burford Drive might be any family’s ideal home. With its five bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, and high-quality kitchen, this terraced house in landscaped grounds on the site of a former golf club in the Dublin suburb of Dun Laoghaire was attracting strong interest from potential buyers one recent Sunday afternoon.

Six months ago, homes in this new development sold for just under €600,000. Now the asking price is 10 per cent higher. Yet potential buyers appear unfazed. “It is cheaper than the house we live in,” says Mark Cheesmore, a 51-year-old telecoms engineer who is viewing the house with his wife Emer and their eight-year-old son Liam.

A few miles away, in the suburb of Rathfarnham, the rise in Dublin house prices in the past few months is even more visible. At Stocking Wood, a development of new houses off the M50 motorway, prices have risen from €429,000 in March to €489,000 for the latest phase to come to the market.

If any country should have a nose for an incipient house price bubble, it is Ireland. Between 2008 and 2010, it experienced one of the world’s most spectacular property price crashes. From the peak in 2007 to the trough in 2011/12, house values collapsed by 60 to 65 per cent.

The turnround is eye-catching. According to the Central Statistics Office, residential house prices in Dublin rose 22 per cent in the year to May. The last time Irish house prices were rising so fast was between 2002 and 2005, the years immediately before the crash. This is sparking talks of a new price bubble – mostly, so far, around the dinner table.

Still, says Mark Fitzgerald, chief executive of Sherry Fitzgerald, an estate agents: “Even if prices are up 20 per cent they are still 40 to 50 per cent below where they were.” As the economist Dan O’Brien observed in a newspaper column recently, the price crash has been so traumatising that “we have gone from being blasé about the risks of property price increases in the pre- 2007 period to being paranoid about them now.”

PreviewSnap003Ireland’s property bubble in the 2000s was caused by a mix of speculative building, cheap development and mortgage finance, competitive lending by banks, and perverse incentives to keep the property market buoyant because tax revenues depended on it. None of these factors is present today.

The latest round of property price inflation is being driven, experts say, by the legacy that the unwinding of the bubble has bequeathed. The most obvious toxic legacy is a shortage of supply. Hubert Fitzpatrick, director of housing at the Construction Industry Federation, says only about 1,800 new residential units will be brought to the market in Dublin this year, compared with “sustainable demand” for 8,000.

PreviewSnap002The main reason for this, he says, is lack of access to development finance. In the boom years, Irish banks fell over themselves to lend 100 per cent of a project’s cost to property developers. Seared by the collapse, they now grudgingly hand over 60 per cent, at most. Developers must put up the other 40 per cent themselves – and it is not easy to find. The result is an imbalance between supply and demand the likes of which Dublin may not have witnessed before. Says Ken MacDonald, managing director of Hooke & MacDonald, an estate agency: “I’ve been through a lot of cycles since 1965, and I have never seen such a disparity. I don’t see it getting into any kind of balance for another three or four years.”

The risk for Ireland is that this will give plenty of time for the current price inflation to become bubblier. The government says it is determined not to allow this to happen again. And yet its critics charge that it may be no more immune to perverse property market incentives than its predecessors, given the economic, social and political significance of home ownership in the Irish psyche.

PreviewSnap001In May, ministers outlined a strategy for the recovery of the Irish construction sector. Not only would there be more homes built; they would be better than the dross the speculative bubble often delivered. That initiative, however, contained a mini version of the UK’s controversial Help to Buy scheme, offering mortgage insurance guarantees to first-time buyers.

The scheme is arguably too modest to inflate prices much. As Ronan Lyons, an economist and housing market expert at Trinity College Dublin, says: “Bubbles don’t happen overnight.” Nevertheless, he cautions, rising prices contain their own logic. “Prices are rising as a result of supply shortages. The longer that remains the case, the higher prices will go.”

Source – http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/96d5b868-fc81-11e3-98b8-00144feab7de.html#axzz36p0LwwB6