Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Who Wants to be on HDTV?

Dude, seriously!

Last year one of my clients worked for HDTV. They are now casting a new season of "Sleep On It" -- concept is homebuyers sleep overnight in the home they are thinking of purchasing as a kind of test drive.

I got an email from the producer, and she was wondering if I have any buyers or sellers that would be interested in participating. They want "high-energy" people (no duds, please).

I'm not very sure how this is going to work out, but it does sound fun, and why the heck not???

Anyhow, let your friends know I have the HGTV hookup and drop me a line asap if you are interested.

Vacation Realty

So I was in Montana over the weekend. Not a vacation, but a grandma's funeral.

On our non-funeral day, we went to Red Lodge, a cutesy ski town not far from Yellowstone. There were 4 or 5 brokerages in the little downtown, all featuring the listed properties on color copies in the front windows.

It's funny -- vacation property always seems so much like home, and so much not like home.

Cute 1 bedroom bungalow in a good location? $179,900! Just like the swanky neighborhoods here!

Overdone, new construction, too many finished square feet for anyone other than a family of ten -- $799,900! Just like here!

616 acres of open land -- $189,900!

Hold the freaking phone! Over 600 acres??? Here, good open land goes for much, much, much more. A quick search of the MLS for parcels in excess of 600 acres brings me listings well above a million dollars. The climate in Montana is very arid, and I would imagine the 616 acres is only good for grazing land.

But I do have this fantasy of buying up a lot of vacant land. They aren't making any more of it, you know.

Get While the Gettin' is Good

I've had some conversations with some mortgage guys lately (yeah, somehow they are all guys) and lending rules are tightening up.

For the most part, it is making it much more difficult for first time homebuyers to make deals without a big downpayment. The zero down programs are drying up, and the entire Twin Cities area has been tagged a "decling market." (At least the declining market tag no longer just applies to my own ghetto address). The declining market designation means, to the buyer, that they will automatically need to put 5% down to get a conventional loan. (5% of $200k=$10,000!!)

There are still first time homebuyer programs that allow zero down, but they do have income restrictions. The limits are pretty high, but many of my first time homebuyer clients last year did not qualify.

I spoke to Todd Ingebretsen on the phone today. He works for Advisors Mortgage and is definitely very dedicated to knowing all of the little details of as many mortgage programs as possible. Since he is so dedicated to knowing the little details, the poor guy is on overload. Every day he gets piles of emails from the lenders outlining the changes in the mortgage programs.

All I can tell you all is that if you don't have a house now, and want one in the next couple years, do it now.