Buying or refinancing a home was not easy. Short sales and foreclosures had title issues, leaky roofs and black pools. Appraisals came in short and sellers took it out on buyers and buyers blamed realtors. Contract dates meant nothing to lenders as rate locks expired and underwriters asked for more and more paperwork. I have worked for fifteen years in this industry and this year was the most challenging by far.
Buying a home in 2011 was like going to Bush Gardens and riding a roller coaster. Finding your dream home is the first part of the ride and after that comes the ups and downs. If all parties involved in your real estate sale transaction (buyer, seller, Title Company, realtors, mortgage broker, lender) keep their heads and work well together, your roller coaster ride will have a happy ending.
There are still incredible buys available on homes in the Tampa Bay area. In 2011 we saw rates at their lowest levels in 40 years and the Federal Reserve Bank announced in August that it plans to keep rates down. If you are in a position to buy a home to own, a second home or an investment property, 2012 may be your year.
If you read the headlines in the paper or listen to the news you will hear that you need a 20% down payment to purchase a home, but if you look beyond the headlines you will find that very few lenders are requiring a 20% down payment. The majority of first-time home buyers used a loan from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) which allows a 3.5% down payment and is NOT just for first time homebuyers. There are plenty of lenders offering 95% financing and the Veterans Administration offers 100% financing for Veterans.
Even in a tough economy, people continue to graduate from college, marry, have babies, and buy homes. While potential homebuyers remain cautious, the abundance of affordable housing combined with historical low rates will draw more buyers to the closing table in 2012.
Remember that in the midst of turmoil, uncertainty and change….lies opportunity…
Here’s to a great 2012!