Friday, July 16, 2010

Do I Need a Buyer’s Agent for Home Purchase?

 Do I Need a Buyer’s Agent for Home Purchase?
Q: We own a home now in town for 14 years. We’ve done a drive-by and are interested in a different home in a rural setting. We have made an appointment with the listing agent to see the house on our own. If we are still interested after seeing the house, we will need to sell ours in order to buy it. We may or may not continue looking if that one is not “the one.” A friend is urging us to have our own REALTOR® now to represent our interests before our appointment next week. I don’t see the need until we’ve decided that we’re ready to give up our current home for another. What do you advise?
~ Brenda
A: Brenda, there are a couple of problems with looking at homes without your own Realtor (working as a Buyer’s Agent). First, the listing agent is representing the seller, and cannot give you any information on the property other than what the seller would allow.

The other issue is that the compensation for representing a buyer typically goes to the agent who first showed the property to the buyer. So, if you go to see a home with the listing agent, then your agent could possibly be cut out of receiving any compensation from the transaction if you decide that you want to make an offer. Your agent may not even want to represent you because of that fact, or you may have to pay your agent out of your own pocket.
If you want to see homes without your agent, then you could go to open houses. If you need to make an appointment to see a property, then you should go through your own Realtor. As a Realtor, this is part of our job. So don’t hesitate to give him/her a call.
~ Jim Armstrong
Jim Armstrong-thumb

Jim Armstrong is a Realtor-Broker with Armstrong Field Real Estate in Essex County, MA.
Are you interested in having a qualified REALTOR® answer your questions? Click through to Ask a REALTOR® now.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

June 2010 REALTOR® Market Index Down but Price Index is Up

June 2010 REALTOR® Market Index Down
but Price Index is Up

The June 2010 REALTOR® Market Index Down Compared to the Same Time Last Year.
REALTOR® Price Index up for the 11th time in the past 12 months.
WALTHAM, Mass. – The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) announced that after 16 straight months of annual increases, the June REALTOR® Market Index (RMI) is down for the first time since February 2009.  Despite the drop, the June REALTOR® Price Index was up compared to the same time last year.
“The combination of the post-tax credit lull and buyers who may have moved up their plans for a summertime purchase to take advantage of the tax credit which expired in April, is having an impact on how REALTORS® are feeling about the current market as reflected in the low Market Index number,” said 2010 MAR President Kevin Sears, broker/co-owner of Sears Real Estate in Springfield.  “Despite this combination of events, REALTORS® do see home prices starting to move up over the next 12 months, which indicates to me that members believe the market will continue to improve.”
In June 2010, the REALTOR® Market Index was 28.36, which was 24.8 percent lower than the 37.70 score recorded in June 2009.  On a month-to-month basis, the June 2010 RMI was down 28.19 percent from the May 2010 score of 39.49.  Measured on a 100-point scale, a score of 50 is the midpoint between a “strong” (100 points) and a “weak” (0 points) market condition.    
The REALTOR® Price Index was up 6.34 percent in June 2010 compared to the same time last year (44.06 in 2009 to 46.85 in 2010).  On a month-to-month basis the June index number was up 22.07 percent from the Home Sales Price Index number in May 2010 (38.38).
When REALTOR® members were asked how they would describe their clients’ ability secure financing in the current lending environment, 60 percent of respondents reported that it was either “somewhat” more difficult (37 percent) or “significantly” more difficult (23 percent).  Thirty-two percent of respondents reported that securing financing had “remained the same”, while 11 percent reported that financing was “somewhat” easier to secure.  Zero percent of the respondents reported that financing was “significantly” easier to obtain.
About the REALTOR® Index Methodology:
The Massachusetts REALTOR® Market Index (RMI) and Price Index (RPI) are based on monthly responses from a random sampling of Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® members on the state of the housing market.  More specifically, the survey asks members two basic questions pertaining to the real estate business in their market area in Massachusetts.
1. How would you describe the current housing market?
2. What are your expectations of home prices over the next year?
In addition to these standard questions, the survey each month includes one wildcard question that changes each month and is based on an industry hot topic.
The RMI is calculated in the following way.  Respondents indicate whether conditions are, or are expected to be “strong” (100 points), “moderate” (50 points), and “weak” (0 points).  The results are the average score for each question.  A score of 50 is the threshold between a “strong” and a “weak” condition.  Similarly, the question about home prices over the next year (REALTOR® Price Index) is calculated using five categories: “Rise 0-5%” (75 points), “Rise 5%+” (100 points), “Level” (50 points), “Fall 0-5%” (25 points), and “Fall >5%” (0 points).

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Closing Deadline Extended for Tax Credit

July 1, 2010 - Last night, Congress passed an extension of the closing deadline for the Homebuyer Tax Credit, the Homebuyer Assistance and Improvement Act (H.R. 5623). The extension applies only to transactions that have ratified contracts in place as of April 30, 2010, that have not yet closed. The legislation is designed to create a seamless extension; the new closing deadline for eligible transactions is now September 30, 2010. There will be no gap between June 30 and the date the President signs the bill into law. Extending the tax credit closing deadline will help provide additional stability to real estate markets across the nation.
Our Government Affairs team worked closely with Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle to enact this important legislation.
NAR is still working on restoring the 502 single-family rural housing loan guarantee program. Language is included in H.R. 4899, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill, that is currently in conference between the House and Senate.  We expect the House to pass that bill shortly and are hopeful the Senate will do the same when they return the week of July 12. When that bill passes, the program will be restored through the end of the fiscal year.

Additionally, the Senate passed the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2010 (H.R. 5569), an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program until September 30, 2010. This will allow transactions to move forward. The bill is retroactive and covers the lapse period from June 1, 2010, to the date of enactment of the extension. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) members sent more than 250,000 letters to Members of Congress encouraging them to extend the program.

For additional information on the tax credit extension, the flood insurance program and rural housing, please visit