July Long Island Home Sales: Hurry Up and Wait

August 18, 2010 Leave a comment

July Long Island Home Sales: Hurry Up and Wait (for jobs)

Check out this video for a quick overview of the housing market on Long Island.

Brought to you by MLSLongIsland.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

If you are currently looking for a home in Northeast Queens or Western Nassau, contact Andrew Wilson today.


FHA Loans: Rule Changes You Should Know

August 16, 2010 Leave a comment

If you are interested in obtaining FHA financing in the near future, you will be interested in the changes that could implemented very soon…  Thanks for the heads up from @CalculatedRisk. (Twitter)

The basics: Looks like the total amount of allowable consessions will be halved (from 6% to 3%) and credit score requirements will be increased (what took so long?) in order to qualify for the 3.5% down payment program.

Within that blog post from calulated risk, here is a link to a related post from The Wall Street Journal.

Categories: Economy, Real Estate, Top Tips

Shopping for Home Loan? Consider a Local Bank…

August 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Mortgage rates are way down (sub 4.5%!), but you might get an even better deal by working with a local or regional lender… plus, as a bonus to saving money, you might help a small, local business thrive.  Not bad, right?

Check out this article from the Wall Street Journal: Mortgages: How to Pay Less to find out more. 

House of Money

Categories: Economy, Queens, Real Estate

Fannie and Freddie: $1 Billion a Week

August 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Check out this Wall Street Journal perspective on the financial crisis, three years later.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Categories: Economy, Real Estate

Queens Real Estate Market Report: June 2010

August 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Queens Real Estate Market Report: June 2010

What is the latest real estate market information in Queens?

Are prices up or down?  By how much?  What does this mean to you?  Check out the Queens market report for June 2010. Click the image below for a .pdf download.


Subscribe to this blog via RSS (at top right) so you don’t miss July’s update!

Andrew’s Take:
Andrew C. WilsonIn my opinion, here are the highlights for Queens buyers:

  • On average in Queens, a home, co-op, or condo will sell for around 90% of its listing price.  (p.6 of the report) If you know your price range, keep this in mind when you are shopping.
  • Closed median sales price is down 8.6% from June 2009. (p.2 of the report)
  • Contracts spiked sharply in April (because of the expiring tax credit) and are now down considerably.  (p.8 of the report) Fewer buyers are competing against you.  It is a good time to be shopping.

If you are interested in discussing the overall market and what it means to you, contact me today. andrew.wilson@realestate.com

Categories: Economy, Queens, Real Estate

Mortgage Loan Types to Consider: The Basics

August 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Loan Types to Consider:

Which is right for you?

Brush up on these mortgage basics to help you determine the loan that will best suit your needs.

  • Mortgage terms. Mortgages are generally available at 15-, 20-, or 30-year terms. In general, the longer the term, the lower the monthly payment. However, you pay more interest overall if you borrow for a longer term.
  • Fixed or adjustable interest rates. A fixed rate allows you to lock in a low rate as long as you hold the mortgage and, in general, is usually a good choice if interest rates are low. An adjustable-rate mortgage is designed so that your loan’s interest rate will rise as market interest rates increase. ARMs usually offer a lower rate in the first years of the mortgage. ARMs also usually have a limit as to how much the interest rate can be increased and how frequently they can be raised. These types of mortgages are a good choice when fixed interest rates are high or when you expect your income to grow significantly in the coming years.
  • Balloon mortgages. These mortgages offer very low interest rates for a short period of time — often three to seven years. Payments usually cover only the interest so the principal owed is not reduced. However, this type of loan may be a good choice if you think you will sell your home in a few years.
  • Government-backed loans. These loans are sponsored by agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration (www.fha.gov) or the Department of Veterans Affairs (www.va.gov) and offer special terms, including lower down payments or reduced interest rates to qualified buyers.

Slight variations in interest rates, loan amounts, and terms can significantly affect your monthly payment. For help in determining how much your monthly payment will be for various loan amounts, use Fannie Mae’s online mortgage calculators.

Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Andrew C. WilsonAndrew’s Take:

There is no one-size-fits-all mortgage type, and major terms (like interest rates) are always changing and are different with each bank.  Doing some research on your own is definitely important, but speak with a mortgage professional sooner than later to find out which options are most realistic for you.

Refinancing is definitely possible if you get the wrong loan type, but it is expensive!  It is important that you take your time and pick the right loan product from the beginning.  It could be with you for the next 30 years!

Categories: Real Estate, Top Tips

7 Steps to Take Before You Buy a Home

August 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Article From BuyAndSell.HouseLogic.com

By: G. M. Filisko
Published: February 10, 2010

By doing your homework before you buy, you’ll feel more content about your new home.

Most potential homebuyers are a smidge daunted by the fact that they’re about to agree to a hefty mortgage that they’ll be paying for the next few decades. The best way to relieve that anxiety is to be confident you’re purchasing the best home at a price you can afford with the most favorable financing. These seven steps will help you make smart decisions about your biggest purchase.

1. Decide how much home you can afford

Generally, you can afford a home priced 2 to 3 times your gross income. Remember to consider costs every homeowner must cover: property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community association fees, if applicable, as well as costs specific to your family, such as day care if you plan to have children.

2. Develop your home wish list

Be honest about which features you must have and which you’d like to have. Handicap accessibility for an aging parent or special needs child is a must. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are in the bonus category. Come up with your top-five must-haves and top-five wants to help you focus your search and make a logical, rather than emotional, choice when home shopping.

3. Select where you want to live

Make a list of your top-five community priorities, such as commute time, schools, and recreational facilities. Ask your REALTOR®; to help you identify three to four target neighborhoods based on your priorities.

4. Start saving

Have you saved enough money to qualify for a mortgage and cover your downpayment? Ideally, you should have 20% of the purchase price set aside for a downpayment, but some lenders allow as little as 5% down. A small downpayment preserves your savings for emergencies.

However, the lower your downpayment, the higher the loan amount you’ll need to qualify for, and if you still qualify, the higher your monthly payment. Your downpayment size can also influence your interest rate and the type of loan you can get.

Finally, if your downpayment is less than 20%, you’ll be required to purchase private mortgage insurance. Depending on the size of your loan, PMI can add hundreds to your monthly payment. Check with your state and local government for mortgage and downpayment assistance programs for first-time buyers.

5. Ask about all the costs before you sign

A downpayment is just one homebuying cost. Your REALTOR®; can tell you what other costs buyers commonly pay in your area-including home inspections, attorneys’ fees, and transfer fees of 2% to 7% of the home price. Tally up the extras you’ll also want to buy after you move-in, such as window coverings and patio furniture for your new yard.

6. Get your credit in order

A credit report details your borrowing history, including any late payments and bad debts, and typically includes a credit score. Lenders lean heavily on your credit report and credit score in determining whether, how much, and at what interest rate to lend for a home. Most require a minimum credit score of 620 for a home mortgage.

You’re entitled to free copies of your credit reports annually from the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Order and then pore over them to ensure the information is accurate, and try to correct any errors before you buy. If your credit score isn’t up to snuff, the easiest ways to improve it are to pay every bill on time and pay down high credit card debt.

7. Get prequalified

Meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter that says how much house you’re qualified to buy. Start gathering the paperwork your lender says it needs. Most want to see W-2 forms verifying your employment and income, copies of pay stubs, and two to four months of banking statements.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll need your current profit and loss statement, a current balance sheet, and personal and business income tax returns for the previous two years.

Consider your financing options. The longer the loan, the smaller your monthly payment. Fixed-rate mortgages offer payment certainty; an adjustable-rate mortgage offers a lower monthly payment. However, an adjustable-rate mortgage may adjust dramatically. Be sure to calculate your affordability at both the lowest and highest possible ARM rate.

More from HouseLogic

Learn how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages can help you save on financing

Learn more about the costs of homeownership

 Other web resources

Homebuyer counseling resources

Get a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus

 G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has thrice survived the homebuying process. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR®; Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Andrew C. WilsonAndrew’s Take:

Being organized and realistic about all of the steps involved will help eliminate unwarranted anxiety.  There is no sense in putting off any of the above steps if you are serious about purchasing a new home, because there is no way to get around the increased lending requirements if you are financing your purchase.  Even if you are purchasing with cash, Steps 1 – 5 will still apply and are good to keep in mind.

Work with a buyer’s agent who is also a licensed architect.

Andrew Wilson: NY Architect and REALTOR®

Looking for Queens or Long Island Real Estate? Contact Andrew Today:


Categories: Real Estate, Top Tips