Friday, May 29, 2009

Taste of Bixby

Talena M. Floyd
Chinowth & Cohen Realtors
"Make My Hometown, Your Hometown"

Taste of Bixby

Thursday June 4, 2009 from 5:30pm - 8:00pm

SpiritBank Event Center
10441 S. Regal Blvd.Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133 Get Directions

Explore your 5 senses while you wind down at this event. Taste and smell great food and drinks, hear the sounds of live music, & touch and see local art vendors. Whether you’re in the mood for a gourmet dessert, a slice of pizza, or to shop and visit with great vendors – all your cravings will be satisfied. This event is open to the public. Tickets will be sold for $15 each. Guests will wind down to live music while tasting the savory samples of local fare and shopping the unique artists of the region.For more information call (918)-369-9360

Tickets are $15 per person

U.S. FHA to apply $8,000 credit to home buying costs

Talena M. Floyd
Chinowth & Cohen Realtors
"Make My Hometown, Your Hometown"
(918) 361-3404
Fri May 29, 11:01 am ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Housing Administration will allow the new $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit to be applied directly toward home purchase costs when using an FHA-insured mortgage, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said on Friday.
The plan to "monetize" the tax credit up-front is aimed at more quickly stabilizing the housing market, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a statement.
But in detailed rules, the FHA will still require home buyers to provide a minimum 3.5 percent downpayment from other sources.
The $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers was created as a part of the Obama administration's $787 billion stimulus plan. Some private lenders already were allowing buyers to apply the credits directly toward purchase costs through special financing schemes.
With the FHA following in a similar vein, a significant portion of the first-time homebuyer market will have up-front access to the credits instead of waiting until tax returns are filed.
"What we're doing today will not only help these families to purchase their first home but will present an enormous benefit for communities struggling to deal with an oversupply of housing," Donovan said in a statement
FHA-insured loans, which largely have replaced the subprime mortgage market, now accounts for about 25 percent of new mortgages, senior HUD officials said, versus about 2 percent of the market two years ago. At this pace, the agency will insure some 2.2 million mortgages this year.
The National Association of Home Builders estimates that the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit will stimulate 160,000 home sales across the United States -- 101,000 purchases from first-time buyers and another 59,000 purchases by existing homeowners who sold dwellings to first-time buyers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Take the Stress Out of Homebuying

Cindy Rodgers
Chinowth and Cohen Realtors

Buying a home should be fun, not stressful. As you look for your dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.

1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the REALTOR® you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality.

2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.

3. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family — the people who will be living in the home.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.

5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.

6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself — room size, kitchen, etc. — that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.

7. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cindy Rodgers, Realtor
Chinowth and Cohen Realtors

HUD: Homebuyer Tax Credit Loans Still on Track

News reports that the federal government is backing away from its plan to permit eligible borrowers to monetize the first-time homebuyer tax credit are off the mark, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says. "The technical details are still being finalized and will soon be published in a mortgagee letter and posted on our Web site," Lemar Wooley, a HUD spokesperson, told REALTOR® magazine Wednesday afternoon.

Under the guidance that's under development, state agencies and other HUD-approved entities would be able to provide short-term bridge loans that households could use to help with their downpayment. The loans would be repaid with the proceeds from the households' federal tax credit.

The loans were announced on the opening day of NAR's 2009 Midyear Legislative Meetings in Washington, D.C., last week. In his announcement, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said guidance would be issued shortly.

When the guidance is released, it is expected to cover eligible lenders and set parameters for loan terms and repayment.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine Online

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Buyer Tax Credit Loan Guidance Coming Soon

Detailed guidance on the federal government's plan to provide short-term loans to borrowers using the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit is expected to be out shortly, but a spokesperson from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is writing the guidance, couldn't give a firm release date.

HUD policy staff are "still working out the details on it," HUD spokesperson Lamar Wooley told REALTOR® Magazine today. "So we expect it to be published shortly."

The short-term loan program, which would effectively monetize the first-time homebuyer tax credit by permitting eligible lenders to make bridge loans collateralized by the borrower's expected tax credit, was announced by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan at the Real Estate Summit NAR hosted on the opening day of its 2009 Midyear Legislative Meetings in Washington last week.

At the summit, Donovan said the loans would enable FHA consumers to access the tax credit funds when they close on their home loans so that the cash could be used as a downpayment.

"FHA will permit trusted FHA-approved lenders and HUD-approved nonprofits, as well as state and local governmental entities to 'monetize' the tax credit through short-term bridge loans," Donovan said. "We think the policy is a real win for everyone, ensuring that borrowers can tap into the numerous organizations that are already part of the FHA network to receive this additional benefit. FHA will be publishing the details shortly."

It's unclear at this point what shape the guidance will take and whether authorization for the loans will be available across the board or only in states in which the state housing finance agency already has a tax credit bridge-loan program in place.

There are 10 states today that have such a loan program, according to the National Council of State Housing Agencies: Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

You can access details of these loan programs on the NCSHA's Web site, "First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Loan Programs."

When it's released, the guidance is expected to be issued as a HUD Mortgagee Letter and will likely discuss which federal, state, and local governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations will be permitted to make the loans, and whether lenders such as FHA-approved mortgagees will be permitted to make the loans.

The guidance could also cover how loan amounts will be limited, what happens if repayment problems occur, and what repayment terms would look like.

REALTOR® Magazine will be checking with HUD regularly on the status of the guidance and will report its availability as soon as it's issued.

—By Robert Freedman for REALTOR® Magazine

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Improvement Coming to Buyer Tax Credit?

Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said that the Federal Housing Administration is working on a plan that will permit its lenders to allow home buyers to use the $8,000 tax credit as a down payment.

Previously, most buyers wouldn't receive the funds until after they filed their tax return, and that deterred some people from using the credit. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has been calling for the change.

“We all want to enable FHA consumers to access the home buyer tax credit funds when they close on their home loans so that the cash can be used as a down payment,” Donovan says. His remarks came in an address to several thousand REALTORS® gathered May 12 at the 2009 REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C..

He says FHA’s approved lenders would be permitted to “monetize” the tax credit through short-term bridge loans. This will allow eligible home buyers to access the funds immediately at the closing table. The plan isn't final; more details are expected in coming weeks.

From Daily Real Estate News May 12, 2009

Why is it so Difficult to get a Home Loan?

It seems like every day someone is asking about why it is so hard to get a real estate loan. Just two years ago anyone, and I mean anyone, could get a loan to buy a house or condo. Well, the times have changed and rules from the lenders have changed right along with the times. For now we will not explore the cause of this change, only the new requirements. Keep in mind though that these will change over time as well, hopefully to a more moderated middle ground but only time will tell.

For those looking to get qualified in this tough market, please note the criteria below:

Fico Scores. These must be better than average (600+), and when the credit report is run there must be no Bankruptcy (BK), and likely no "collections" of accounts will be allowed.

Down Payments. Buyers must have some money to put down, no longer will the lenders approve 100% financing, most likely the lenders will require 10-20% down (except FHA which allows only 3% (3.5% in 2009)).
Ample Income. All income will need to be verified with pay stubs two year period and IRS and State tax filings for 2-3 years. Then they will calculate your debt-to-income ratios (looking to see that you can really make the payments). Each lender has different ratios they will pass or disqualify with. As a general rule, these days they are wanting to see much smaller debt-to-income ratios. In other words, the banks want to see borrowers with more income and less outstanding debt obligations.
Stated Income. This (with no verification) is no longer available, meaning quite a hardship on the self-employed, but lenders are very risk averse now. The only exception is if buyers have a very hefty down payment like over 30%.

Proof of Funds. A few months worth of recent bank account statements will be required to show that money is really available for closing costs and down payments.

Reserve Funds. Many lenders require that the borrower have reserve cash on hand to cover two to six months worth of payments.

Non-Occupants. If the property is not going to be the home of the borrower (like a rental) then most lenders will increase the interest rate on the loan.

Limited Holdings. Restrictions are also placed on many borrower that this property will not increase their rental holdings to more than 4 units. Lenders are very suspect of investors that might be over leveraging themselves.
Obviously, only very qualified people can meet the above criteria, and that is just what the lenders want in a time of uncertainty and massive losses. For the time being they can’t justify making any more high-risk loans. Hopefully, knowing what is needed in advance to get approved, buyers will understand that it is critical to prepare early and get their ducks in a row before starting the home buying process. For those lucky enough to be qualified in today’s market, a wide range of opportunity awaits them.
Source: Realty Times, Written by Bob Foust

Bill Whitescarver
Broker Associate
Chinowth & Cohen Realtors
Cell: 918-691-7653

Friday, May 15, 2009

Summer Organizing Tips

Take these easy tips from the expert herself...Martha Stewart...need I say more?

John Sawyer

Sawyer Wallace Home Collection


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Six Reasons Why It's Still a Good Time to Buy

The housing market is looking healthier. Sales and pending sales of homes have turned up sharply in hard-hit markets. House prices are more affordable. Consumer confidence polls show slight but noteworthy improvements in the public's outlook. With that in mind, here are six reasons why now is the time to jump into the market:
  • Uncle Sam is willing to help. First-time buyers (defined as anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years) are entitled to a maximum $8,000 tax credit; interest rates are at record lows; and the Federal Reserve is doing its best to make mortgage loans available.
  • People have to live somewhere. About 800,000 new households are formed each year in this country, ensuring that the housing market will tighten, even if the economy doesn’t soar.
  • Borrowers leverage their investment. If you put $10,000 into the stock market and it earns 10 percent, you’ve earned $1,000. If you put $10,000 down on a home and its values increases 10 percent, you’ve made $10,000.
  • When prices come back up, you’ll have instant equity. In parts of the country where foreclosures have driven down prices, better times will mean the price of the home you buy will rise rapidly.
  • Mortgage costs stay the same. If you get a fixed-rate mortgage, the monthly payment stays the same – while everything else, including rent, goes upward.
  • You own it. There is something comforting in the notion that your home is your own. You can paint it any color you want, let the dog run in the back yard and hang a swing for the kids in the front.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rain Rain and More Rain

The rain just keeps coming. I thought it would be appropriate to include a few quotes on this great weather we're having. Enjoy! Don't let the rain keep you from the Open Houses this week! Check out our Open House page on

"A poet is someone who stands outside in the rain hoping to be struck by lightning.”
James Dickey

“Into each life some rain must fall.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
Dolly Parton

“There will be a rain dance Friday night, weather permitting”
George Carlin

If I were running the world I would have it rain only between 2 and 5 a.m. Anyone who was out then ought to get wet.
William Lyon Phelps

Don't sit under an umbrella waiting for it to rain”

Save a boyfriend for a rainy day - and another, in case it doesn't rain.”
Mae West

“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain”

No person has the right to rain on your dreams.
Marian Wright Edelman

Don't threaten me with love, baby. Let's just go walking in the rain.
Billie Holiday

and last but not least.................................

Rain Rain Go Away, Come Again Another Day

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Strong and Growing

Here is a recent article published by the Tulsa Business Journal regarding Chinowth & Cohen's strong growth.

Strong and Growing
By Tulsa Business Staff - 4/27/2009

While many in the real estate market seem to be cowering in the face of doom and gloom recession headlines, Sheryl Chinowth seems a bit more confident. And with good reason: Chinowth and Cohen Realtors, the residential and commercial real estate firm she co-owns with her husband, Lee Cohen, finished last year with a 16-percent increase in revenue over 2007 and what Cohen estimates as at least a three-point gain in market share. Furthermore, since opening just four and a half years ago, the firm has expanded its operation from 25 agents to 310, 260 of which are full-time employees. They also have 20 office staff. “We really believe our growth is going to continue,” she said. “It’s like one of our agents told me the other day, the Chinowth and Cohen market is doing fine.”

Knowledge is Profit
Chinowth said the main factor that sets the firm apart is knowledge of the market.
“You have a firm here where both of the owners grew up in real estate families, and both of us have also been top producers,” she said. “Some companies just are run by people who have never been agents themselves, they just don’t have the knowledge of the industry it takes to move ahead.” She and Cohen are trying to expand that knowledge. “Lee and I do research across the country so that hopefully we have a good handle on what’s coming down the road before it gets here,” Chinowth said.

The pair will get a hand in that research now, having been recently inducted into the Leadership Council, a prestigious real estate CEO exchange group. Founded in 1987, the Leadership Council meets twice per year for an idea sharing session and comprehensive review and critique of the host member’s company. “Most of the firms that are in this organization have been around for decades,” Chinowth said. “It says something about us that such a young company has been voted into such an elite group.” Chinowth and Cohen are doing their best to pass that knowledge down to their agents, offering a slew of courses and seminars. “We have two full-time trainers on staff, and we have 52 classes running on a continuing basis,” she said. “We want our people to have access to the latest technology and techniques.”

Mega Marketing
Even more than education, Chinowth and Cohen’s success could be chocked up to tremendous marketing efforts. “We have one of the best PR and marketing staffs in the industry,” Chinowth said. In an effort to stay on the leading technological edge of their industry, she and Cohen have turned to the Web as their marketing front-line. “We have the fastest-growing real estate Web site in the industry,” she said. “We are the only real estate web site with a blog on the front page. Most companies say, ‘Hey, you want to blog, fine, make a blog.’ We want our people all contributing to one blog for two reasons: so they don’t have to write an entry every day — they can be selling instead — and so our customers can read it. They get a flair for what our associates are like, and it keeps people coming back to the Web site.”

The company also shows all of its listings, interspersed with small featurettes on buying, selling and market trends, on a slickly-produced cable and broadband broadcast, publishes its own real estate magazine, and has a kiosk set up in the Woodland Hills Mall next to Starbucks.
“We found that when people walk into the mall, they tend to have a purpose, and usually pass kiosks set next to the entrances,” Chinowth said. “Where we have our information set up, we have sort of a captive audience.”

While these extensive marketing efforts are certainly not cheap — Chinowth wouldn’t reveal how much the company spent on marketing, but said it was “probably more than anyone else” — it achieves its purpose. “We want to have a constant stream of information available to people,” she said. “The less marketing our agents have to do, the more they can be out selling, and the more successful they can be at it.”

Friday, May 1, 2009


Ok people... May showers are in fact here for the weekend and there's nothing we can do about that. So why not use this weekend to get organized? I know I say it all the time, but TRUST ME! De-cluttering your home will guarantee the sun will start shining inside of you no matter how rotten it is outside. These easy steps will be all you need to get started.

John Sawyer
918-289-7065 cell


South Tulsa 918-392-0900 | Mid Town Tulsa 918-392-9900 | Broken Arrow 918-259-0000 | Owasso 918-392-9990

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