Sunday, November 29, 2009

Break out of your color comfort zone this winter.

At first thought, winter might not conjure up words like spicy, bold or sunny. It should, though, at least when it comes to the inside of your home. While it might be gray and dreary outside, infusing color into interior decor is one of the quickest ways to create a cozy, inviting living area. And winter is the ideal time to do it.Adding a shot of color to a space can be done quickly, but it can sometimes be confusing.

In fact, mastering the ins and outs of decorating with color can be downright daunting. "Although people love the idea of incorporating color into their homes, mixing and matching colors, patterns and textures can be an intimidating and overwhelming process," says Donna Schroeder, color marketing and design manager for Martin-Senour Paints. "Whether it's wall paint, new furniture or accessories, consumers might not have the confidence to step outside of their 'color comfort zone' and experiment with shades they might not normally gravitate toward."

So, how do you break out of that "color comfort zone?" You can start by using available color tools such as those found in Martin-Senour's color selector. Not just about wall color, it offers unique tools designed to help you balance the entirety of a home's interior design as well as room-to-room balance and flow. From wall color to room accents, the color selector is a resource for complete home design.Having a basic understanding of color and knowing what emotions different colors can evoke also helps.

So, if you're thinking about warming up your home this winter and are contemplating using a paint color that you've always wanted to try, but weren't sure how or where to use it, these tips can help steer you in the right direction:

Red - As the strongest color in the spectrum, red has the greatest emotional impact. Depending on the hue and shade, red resonates with passion, romance, energy and courage. In recent years, it's become a popular color choice for dining room walls, but the drama of red is also ideal for entryways, living rooms and even bathrooms. The color combination of red with neutrals, such as tans and browns, results in warmth that is certain to carry you through those cold months.

Orange - Orange has evolved throughout the years; think terracotta and copper tones. It enlivens any space and can easily take center stage as a primary wall color, or as an accent color to give a refreshed decor a bit of much-needed punch. When paired with blues or purples, a spicier orange can be very powerful. For a more subdued effect, combine it with warmer colors like reds and deep, welcoming greens.

Yellow - There is no better color to radiate warmth in your home than yellow, but don't underestimate the intensity of this color. Bright, strong yellows on walls are almost always best saved for an area like the kitchen because they are said to increase attentiveness and have "wake up" qualities. Creamier yellows - think the paleness of fresh butter - are popular in living rooms and can even translate well into bedrooms when joined with a classic red or blue.

Purple - Purples have a powerful connection with our spiritual and introspective side. Because purple has varying degrees of red and blue in it, it's easily paired with many complementary colors such as yellow, orange and softer greens. When slightly redder, purple can be vivacious and exciting; when slightly bluer it can be restful. If you're using purple for a room, decide whether the room is designed to entice drama, as with an eggplant-hued purple, or cast an air of relaxation and reflection, as found in a hydrangea shade.

Red, orange, yellow or purple, no matter what color you decide to use to help shut out those dark, chilly winter days, keep in mind that all colors can evoke powerful effects in any room. Understanding the basic building blocks of color can help you harness that power and create the stunning color schemes you've always wanted.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Selling your home during the winter months - it IS a good time to sell!

My Sellers are almost ready to put their home on the market (finishing up a few improvement projects), but they’re concerned about selling their home during the winter months.

Now IS a good time to put your home on the market, and here are the reasons why:

  • People still need (yes, need) to buy during the winter months. I have literally written a sales contract on Christmas day before.

Many Sellers decide to hold off until spring to put their home on the market, so the inventory of homes available in the winter months is lower, hence Sellers have less competition.

Particularly if your home is priced in a range attractive to first-time home-buyers, get your house on the market now. There are Buyers out there that needed just a little more time to clean up their credit or save money for the down-payment, and they are shopping NOW.

Take advantage of the extension for the 1st-time buyer stimulus dollars!

Selling your home during the winter months doesn't have to spoil your holidays. Decorate your tree and follow a few simple tips for preparing your home for sale during the colder season.

The tried-and-true home selling formula remains the same, regardless of season:
  • Get your home in top-notch, move-in condition and stage to “WOW” a Buyer
  • Price your home competitively
  • Choose a Realtor who will market your home aggressively, including extensive internet exposure
Lori Cain is a residential Realtor with Chinowth & Cohen Realtors serving the greater Tulsa Oklahoma area, including midtown Tulsa, Owasso, Broken Arrow, Bixby, Sand Springs and Jenks. Please visit Lori's web site, or call 918-852-5036.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Extending Homebuyer Tax Credit Best Tool for Sustaining Housing Recovery

The best available tool for sustaining the still-fragile housing market is the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit, and it is essential that Congress extend the credit into 2010, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) testified at a hearing of the U.S. House Small Business Committee in October.
It’s increasingly likely that Congress will extend and expand the popular home buyer tax credit, which will expire at the end of this month.

NAR Regional Vice President Joseph L. Canfora, also told the panel that a major stumbling block for consumers has been the implementation of appraisal processes spurred by the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC), which is causing delays in closings, as well as cancelled sales that led to artificially low existing-home sales numbers for August, reported last month.

"The credit is working," Canfora said, pointing out that the 355,000 to 400,000 transactions directly attributable to the credit made a significant dent in the housing inventory and will help to stabilize home prices. Further, the credit has provided a huge indirect benefit to local governments, shoring up property tax bases in particularly hard-hit areas.

Further, NAR data has estimated that every home purchase pumps into the recovering economy about $63,000 – the equivalent of one new job added to the employment figures.
But, Canfora said, the threat of more foreclosures coming to the market caused by mortgage rate resets, job losses, and by lender’s unburdening themselves of additional properties to take advantage of today’s more stabilized prices could disrupt the fragile recovery.

In a "normal" market, optimal housing inventory is about six to seven months, he said. When the tax credit was enacted in February, inventory was 9.1 months. Because of the spurt in homes sales since then due to the tax credit, inventory declined to 8.2 months in August, closer to "normal" than at any time since 2007.

In urging Congress to extend the credit, Canfora said, "The more robust the credit and the greater its duration, the greater the chance that the housing market can perform its traditional role of helping the economy move out of a recession."

"But problems arising from the implementation of the HVCC may reverse the market’s positive momentum at a time when the real estate industry is just starting to show signs of a rebound in many markets," Canfora said. According to an NAR survey of its members, approximately 40 percent of Realtors report having lost at least one sale since May 1 because of appraisal problems due to the HVCC rules. Twenty percent say they have lost more than one sale.

The culprit, he said, was that appraisal management companies, which have gained prominence because of the HVCC, have assigned appraisers to areas where they lack geographic competence. That has resulted in unreliable appraisals. It is not uncommon that second and third appraisals have to be done to ascertain fair market value. Appraisal fees have also risen and are being passed on to consumers.

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued guidance on appraisals, but NAR is calling upon the mortgage giants and the Federal Housing Administration to issue a consolidated guidance that should be codified and incorporated into the existing policy to ensure proper information on appraisals is available to the real estate industry.

FHA Commissioner David H. Stevens has asked FHA staff to explore that recommendation with Fannie and Freddie. Last month, Stevens reaffirmed FHA appraisal policy, taking into consideration the unintended consequences that have burdened Fannie and Freddie, and issued two Mortgagee Letters focusing on appraisal changes. The policy reaffirms appraiser independence and geographic competence.

The FHA announcement also included timely steps to protect taxpayers: implementing credit policy changes to enhance risk management; hiring a chief risk officer for the first time in the agency’s history; and shifting responsibility for mortgage brokers away from taxpayers to the lenders who use mortgage brokers.

Canfora told the committee that FHA has performed remarkably well through the housing crises, compared to Fannie and Freddie. "That’s because FHA has never strayed from the sound underwriting and appropriate appraisals that have traditionally backed up their loans."

"The reason the FHA capital reserve ratio fell below 2 percent had nothing to do with FHA’s current business activities. It is simply a reflection of falling housing values in their portfolio." He cited an FHA announcement that a 2009 audit will show that even if FHA does nothing, the cap reserves are expected to rise back to that required level within a few years. He also pointed out that FHA total reserves are not in as dire straits as some have reported since the cap reserve fund is not the only FHA reserve fund – FHA also has a separate cash reserve that is higher that it has even been – and the combined assets total $30.4 billion.

Written by Realty Times Staff

Friday, November 6, 2009

Outgrown your starter home? NOW is the time to upgrade & here are three reasons why.

It's time to sell that cute little starter home with two bedrooms and 1 bath that you bought after you got married and before you had two children. It’s time to pass that along to another young couple and find a larger home in a school district of your choice with a separate bathroom for the kids.

You may have heard that the Senate & House extended the 1st-time home buyer $8,000 tax credit. They ALSO added a $6,500 credit for home buyers who have lived in their current home at least five years.
Both have to have written contracts by April 30th and must close by June 30th.

I know that you’re nervous about trying to buy a home while selling yours at the same time. The thought of double mortgage payments scares me, so I know it scares you. Here is a post I’ve written about how best to buy and sell at the same time – it can be done!

Your home is likely to be purchased by a 1st-time buyer, so you really need to take advantage of this opportunity now that they’ve extended the deadline. And, the legislature added the $6,500 credit to existing home-owners needing to upgrade in an effort to stimulate the inventory of higher priced homes – something the 1st-time buyers couldn’t afford.

So, it’s time to make the move up, because:
  1. Your home will likely be purchased by a 1st-time buyer taking advantage of the stimulus extension;
  2. You can cash in on the $6,500 credit since you’ve owned your current home for five+ years, and finally,
  3. Rates are great.
So, what are you waiting for? The stars may not align like this again for quite some time.


Helpful links regarding the tax credits:

Quick chart of features (pdf file format)

Form to amend taxes if you close in 2009 (pdf file format)

Visit my website, or call 918-852-5036!

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

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