Friday, March 26, 2010

Sellers News

Click on Seller News to hear the story.

There are reforms to help sellers who are in a short sale situation. Listen to the story.

Have a short sale property and don't know what to do? I have answers. Call me to discuss maybe I can help you through to a good ending.
Christine Parrish


Monday, March 22, 2010

Advantages of investing in Real Estate!

Real estate investing in a general sense involves the purchasing of real estate for profit. With real estate investments, profits are gradually accumulated by renting out properties in what's known as a cash flow method. Or, properties are improved and upgraded, then resold for a capital gain. Real estate investors may also wholesale properties as a way to make profits.

Advantages of Real Estate Investing

There are many entrepreneurs out there who argue that real estate investing is a win-win situation where you simply cannot lose money. Of course, this has to be false because there is no fail-safe way to invest in anything without some risk. Despite the risks, there are plenty of advantages to investing in real estate.

The first major advantage to investing in real estate is that you are purchasing an extremely expensive product. Therefore, each property you sell generates more profit potential.

Next advantage with real estate investing is leverage, or the ability to borrow based on the value of the property. It is much easier to finance real estate than any other investment product. Investing in other assets requires you to have the full purchase payment available to obtain that asset. However, when investing in real estate, you only need to have a fraction of the purchase price available (like a 5%, 10% or 20% down payment per say). As a result, real estate, although extremely expensive, is still easier to buy than say, a piece of industrial equipment of the same value.

Furthermore, local advantages in real estate investments is very rarely discussed, yet it stands to reason that you would know your city, town, and neighborhood better than any real estate investing expert from another part of the country or world. This is an advantage that the beginner real estate investor can capitalize on.

One way a beginner can get started in real estate investing with minimal personal risk is to bird dog. ‘Bird dogging' is when you search for good deals for another, more experienced investor. This way the beginner learns to find, recognize, and understand a good value.

It should also be noted that the bulk of the world's assets are in real estate.
Looking for a property bank or government owned?  First time home buyer? Together your in the hot seat.
You can search foreclosures on my web site at

Anyone for Tennis?

Have tennis experience or are you interested in playing tennis?  Check out our Chesapeake/Suffolk league which play at Western Branch courts in Chesapeake., Behind Chuckee Cheese There is room for beginners up to 4.5 players.  You can go to for more information or contact me by phone at 757-816-7000

Carova Beach in OBX

 Search Property in the OBX @

 Currituck County's northern Outer Banks   beach with 4 x 4 drive sandy roads are an  experience to visit or own.  A pristine environment that offers wide sandy beaches, undisturbed dunes, and even wild horses,
 luxuries home, and then some.

Vacation Homes

Four Wheel Drive

Swan Beach


Don't plan on bringing the family car, though, unless it's four-wheel drive. There are no paved roads in the communities of Seagull, Penny's Hill, Swan Beach, North Swan Beach and Carova, which consist of million-dollar homes, along with the more modest homes of year-round residents, scattered among the dunes and facing the Atlantic Ocean, on 11 miles of unspoiled beaches that stretch from Corolla to the Virginia Line.

To get there, follow N.C. 12 north to Corolla, to the ramp at the end of the road. Take a left, and drive straight up the beach. Don't forget to lay in some supplies before you go, though, as along with no paved roads, there are no grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants or hotels, or trash pickup and other amenities of modern life.

However, most of the upscale rentals are well-equipped, with heated swimming pools, hot tubs and Jacuzzis, game rooms, multiple televisions and entertainment systems, high-speed Internet access, gourmet kitchens and multiple bedrooms (eight or more, in many cases), so a vacation on the northern Outer Banks isn't exactly roughing it. Many of the larger beach houses sleep from 10 to 25 people, making them perfect for wedding parties and family reunions.

The northern Outer Banks are bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the west by the Currituck Sound, and feature some the broadest, cleanest beaches you'll find anywhere on the Outer Banks. Between the surf and the sound, tight, twisting tracks of hard-packed sand serve as roads around the dunes and through scrub pines, interspersed with the driveways and hardy lawns of homes that range from single-wide mobile homes perched on pilings to multi-million-dollar mansions

Interested in owning a home on the OBX, call me to discuss. 
Christine Parrish

Attention Sellers and Buyers

Double-Barrel Stimulus Deadlines

Threaten Rates and Affordability; The Time to Act is NOW!
Attention Sellers and Buyers   Act Now! Don't miss this opportunity.

This is great advice for prospective homebuyers over the next 45 days, as two key government programs that have kept home ownership more affordable than ever wind down to their completion.

First, the Federal Reserve's Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) purchase program will come to an end on March 31, just two weeks away! Without this program home loan rates could have been at least 1.00% higher...and potentially even higher...over the last year. Throughout 2009, the Federal Reserve was the primary buyer for MBS, purchasing as much as 80% of the supply in a given month. When this program ends, a lack of willing buyers will likely cause MBS prices to drop and rates to rise as a result.

The second shot will come on April 30th, which is the deadline for purchasers to get under contract to qualify for the Home Buyer Tax Credit program, which has been providing a tax credit of up to $8,000 to first time homebuyers and up to $6,500 to repeat purchasers.

Just How Much Will Waiting Cost?

While no one knows for certain what the future holds, two things appear clear. Home loan rates will likely be higher in the future, and free money from the government will be gone. These deadlines will affect both affordability to purchase and the opportunity to refi.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, it was estimated that 37% of all borrowers with a 30-year fixed rate have interest rates of 6% or higher. The article also quotes Credit Suisse that more than half could lower their rate by nearly 0.75%.

For prospective homebuyers, any increase in interest rates erodes your purchasing power. In other words, a 1% increase in rate represents an approximate decline in purchasing power by 10%. For example, if rates increase by 1%, people who qualify for a $200,000 purchase price today may only qualify for a purchase price of $180,000 afterwards.

Want to discuss this further?  Are you or anyone you know thinking about selling their home or purchasing a new home? If so, call me and lets talk real estate.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

How low can the rates go? Recap the market ....


The era of everyday lower prices appears to be ending, at least according to recent data from real estate search firm, which reports a new low of 19% of listings currently on the market experiencing a price cut as of March 1, 2010 .'s track record isn't particularly long – it dates back to April 2009 – so we don't want to read too much into the news, but it's worth noting that it marks the first time price reduction levels have dropped below 20%. To spin things positively, we could say that over 80% of new listings aren't reducing prices.

It makes sense that price cutting is becoming less necessary. Most sellers these days are grounded in the new reality: they understand that they can't sell their home for what it would have sold for in 2005 or 2006, so they're no longer tethered to those extinct price points. Homes listed for sale these days are priced to produce an actual sale as opposed to being priced in a quixotic attempt to reclaim a sunk cost.

Of course, listing prices could come under pressure by the expected increase in foreclosures. The Washington Post reports that about 5 million to 7 million properties are potentially eligible for foreclosure, but have not yet been repossessed and put up for sale. The Post also reports that it could take nearly three years for all these homes to clear the market.

That's a worse-case scenario. So far, that's not how the market is unfolding. RealtyTrac reports that there were foreclosure filings on 308,000 homes in February, but that's a 2% decline from January. REOs were off nearly 15% from their peak of more than 92,000 in December 2009. Moreover, 60% of the activity was concentrated in six states: California , Florida , Michigan , Illinois , Arizona , and Texas . Going forward, we think stable prices and gradual appreciation will be the norm, despite the foreclosure issue and the likelihood of loosing the federal homebuyer’s tax credits.

We also think stable and appreciating mortgages rates will be the norm. Yes, rates continue to hold steady, like they have for the past two months, but they're not going lower. What's more, March 31 marks the Federal Reserve's expected withdraw from the mortgage-securities market. Does that mean we will be looking at 6% 30-year fixed-rate mortgages this time next year, as many pundits predict? We can't say for sure, but we wouldn't be surprised to see 5.5% by summer.
This information was taken from weekly news by Jim Belote, Union Mortgage. Thank you Jim.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Assessed Home Values Rarely equal Fair Market Value

Over the last few years in Virginia and North Carolina  as well as many other parts of the country we have seen a rapid decline in Real Estate values. In many towns  it would not be unusual to see a home that sold in 2007 for $500,000 to be re-sold today around $450,000. It is an unfortunate fact of life. All good things tend to come to an end at some point.

One of the common lines of thinking that occurs when Real Estate values are heading downward is that the home owners tax bill must also be coming down too. Part of this misconception occurs because people assume that the fair market value and assessed value are the same.

In theory this should be the case but assessed values are nothing more than a yard stick for a municipality to collect an appropriate amount of taxes to sufficiently cover the state and local appropriations chargeable to the city and town.

Lets go over a few facts about your homes assessed value and the role of the towns assessor:

1.) In our area assessed values are based on 95 to 100% of full market value.

2.) Town Assessors are required to submit assessed values to the state Department of Revenue for certification every three years.

3.) The assessors review sales data and the Real Estate market every year and thereby reassess values each year.

4.) Assessors do not raise of lower taxes.

5.) Assessors do not make the tax laws which affect property owners.

6.) The Assessor's Office has nothing to do with the total amount of taxes collected.

7.) The assessor's primary responsibility is to find the full and fair market value of the property so that the taxpayer pays only their fair share of taxes.

As we are seeing now, assessed value of many homes coming down . What you are also very likely to see in some areas is an increase in the fiscal tax rate to cover the difference in the lower assessed values.

As previously mentioned above, the numbers used are all just part of the game of collecting the proper amount of revenue to run the town.

So what are you supposed do if you think you are not being taxed properly in relation to other similar homes that have sold?

You should go to your local tax assessors office and file for an abatement. All the information necessary regarding the application process and the deadlines for filing should be available.

Applications for abatement's are due on or before the due date for payment of the first actual bill. The assessor has a period of time to act upon your abatement request.

What happens if you do not feel that the assessor made the proper ruling on your abatement request? If this occurs, you have the right to appeal to the State Appellate Tax Board.

In Virginia  there  are some people who are exempt from all or part of their property tax obligations. Exemptions are available to those individuals that meet the various requirements in the following categories:


Disabled Veteran


Widows and/or Widowers

Minor Children with a Deceased Parent

Minor Children of Deceased Police or Firefighters killed in the line of duty

Applications for tax exemptions can also be obtained from your local tax assessor's office.

Senior citizens  have also been able to claim a refundable credit on their income taxes for property taxes paid on residential property owned or rented. This law is known as the Senior "Circuit Breaker" Tax Credit, it is equal to the amount by which their property tax payments in the current tax year (excluding any exemptions and/or abatement's), including water and debt sewer charges, exceed 10% of their total income for the same year.

To claim the credit, eligible taxpayers must submit a completed state Schedule CB, Circuit Breaker Credit, with their state income return. The form is available on the web at Circuit Breaker Credit.

As a Realtor who has covered local markets in Real Estate for the past twelve  years  I  have come   accross   some really silly marketing by other Real Estate agents in regards to a homes assessed value. Things written in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) like "What a bargain this home is priced X dollars below assessment." Most of the time the Realtor is making a very poor correlation between the assessed and market value.

When I see something like this my immediate thought is that the home owner has been paying too much taxes on their home or the assessment has not been adjusted yet.

In just as many circumstances I have seen a home with a lower assessment and a buyers Realtor try to argue that the home is overpriced because of a low assessment.

The take home message is that if you are considering buying a home, you should not rely on assessed value as a good measuring stick of market value. There are plenty of homes that are over and under assessed in the Hampton Roads area and in the OBX,   A  good buyer's agent that can point point a homes true market value is always a wise move!

If you need help with value vs tax assessment, call me and we can discuss it.  757-816-7000
Christine Parrish

Friday, March 12, 2010

Looking for Foreclosures ?

Search Foreclos

Search property through my website!

Count down for First time home buyers

April 30, you will need to be under contract to receive your tax credits.  This is an opportunity to receive $8,000 back from the Government.  That would cover your down payment and or some of your closing costs.  There are loans available fo 100% financing too.  If you are thinking about this please call me to discuss it.!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Inspirational word for the day

 In times like these seek out the opportunities available to you.