Changes to FHA Rules Good for Condo Buyers

The Newsletter

Changes to FHA Rules Are Good News for Condo Buyers
One of the biggest changes in the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, passed earlier this year by the US Senate, concerned condominium financing. It’s good news, not just to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which had supported the changes for some time, but also to condominium owners and buyers.

Condominiums have always represented an affordable option for many buyers. But before the bill was passed, it was difficult for worthy borrowers to access the financing they need to purchase a condominium. Community and housing groups complained that FHA rules and requirements were both unfair and onerous – including the minimum owner-occupancy ratio of 50%, which made it impossible for buildings with lower ratios to qualify for FHA financing.

According to NAR, the bill will “make FHA’s recertification process substantially less burdensome, while lowering the FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement from 50% to 35%.”

Also affected is the FHA policy around condo unit transfer fees. The bill requires the FHA to adopt the more flexible model used by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

It is hoped the changes in legislation will open up FHA financing opportunities to more prospective condo buyers across the country, and there’s every chance it will.

In response to the bill, Tom Salomone, current president of NAR, noted: “Tight inventory and rising home prices are a reality of today’s market, and mortgage credit is hard to come by. We should take every opportunity to clear the path for well-qualified borrowers to purchase a home when they’re ready, and this legislation does just that.”

Be Thankful These Turkey Tales Didn’t Happen to You!

From the main course to the fall centerpiece and charming napkin holders, you hope to wow guests with an enchanting Thanksgiving experience.

While accomplishing the many tasks needed to make this happen can weigh heavily on your mind, note that, as several  readers shared, this “weight” isn’t the one to focus on!

Tough tables only – Crystal Swanson tells Houzz about her heavy meal: “We had a gigantic meal prepared. I set up an old metal folding table in the kitchen to serve the feast. Before my very horrified eyes, as we were starting to dish up buffet-style, the entire table collapsed with the weight of the food and dishes and sent everything cascading to the floor.”

No leaning allowed – “Zeebee” posts about the time they extended the table to accommodate their large family: “A relative leaned heavily on the table extension, which made the legs buckle at one end of the lo-o-o-n-g table. Everything that couldn’t be grabbed went cascading onto the floor…my mother-in-law lost all of her wedding china in the crash.”

Durable disposables, please – “Spookyjimjam” recalls their first Thanksgiving in their rental apartment, before they could afford nice china. “My…husband carried the turkey pan to the table… (T)he disposable pan buckled just as he made it to the table, and everything-the turkey and about half a gallon of drippings-went straight on the carpeted dining room floor.” Worst of all, they didn’t just lose their feast, they lost their apartment security deposit.

The moral: make this Thanksgiving a “solid” event.

Catching Pokémon: Will the Cultural Phenom Survive?

It became an inescapable reality: hordes of people of all ages grouped together in public spaces, their noses to their phones.

Their goal? Trying to find Pokémon and catch them all. Pokémon Go, which was released in July 2016, quickly became a global phenomenon; at one point, it had as many users as Twitter. Its meteoric rise was due in part to nostalgia. Adults, who had experienced Pokémon in the ’90s, could now play the augmented reality game and experience the thrill of seeing childhood characters superimposed onto the real world.

People were also drawn to the game’s instant community. Crowds of people could meet at various spots to catch Pokémon, leading to social interactions that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. Parents of autistic children suggested the game helped their children interact with others, and health professionals were enthused about its ability to get people walking outside.

But serious issues associated with the game – including its misuse in public locations like cemeteries and memorials, and injuries to users playing the game-have caused concerns. In fact, many of these have already been addressed by the developers; Pokémon Go Plus, a wearable accessory, now permits people to play without looking at their phones.

However, many Pokémon Go-watchers say its current single-player focus, which appears to be the antithesis of the sense of community that makes it so popular, will have to be changed in order for the game to survive into the future. Will it survive? Only time, and perhaps your favorite Pokémon character, will tell.

Wondering How Much Your Home Is Worth?
How has the price of your home changed in today’s market? How much are other homes in your neighborhood selling for?

If you’re wondering what’s happening to prices in your area, or you’re thinking about selling your house, I’ll be able to help.

Click the market report below or select San Antonio Real Estate Market and complete the requested information about your home!

New Home, Old Home – What’s Best for You?
Prospective home buyers looking at areas where new neighborhoods are being developed have a decision to make that’s affected by price, availability, features, and style: Do I buy a new build or a resale property? Here are some thinking points when you’re considering which to buy:

New build

Purchasing a preconstruction house or condominium unit gives buyers a chance to personalize it to their needs and their style. The buyer can select layout, finishes, and fixtures. New homes also include the latest technology, which means lots of “smart” and “green” features.

The downsides? A new subdivision will likely still be a construction zone when owners move in, and there won’t be any mature trees or green space. Personality may be lacking, both outside and indoors; a resale home often has unique features that add warmth and style, whereas a new build may feel austere. And then there’s the waiting game. Particularly with new condos, buyers may have to wait for some time before the building is finally ready for occupation.

Resale home

A previously lived in home has two advantages that new builds find it hard to compete with: location and charm. The neighborhood is likely more developed; there will be mature greenery, a sense of community and culture, and an absence of the dirt, dust, and noise that accompany a new-build site. A resale home may also have unique features that make it feel special for the right buyer, such as an amazing backyard, a fireplace, crown moldings, or built-ins.

However, a resale home may also be dated and require costly repairs and renovations to make it suitable for a new owner. Because it wasn’t built with the latest materials and practices, it also may be less efficient.

New or old-both have their advantages. But make it all about you and your family, and your decision will be the right one.

SA Realty Watch Group
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Thinking of Buying a Home? Get My Free Guide
Buying a home is a complex process with many factors to consider.

Prepare for the decisions you’ll need to make along the way by requesting my free report, “10 Easy Steps to Buying a Home.”

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Quick Quiz
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Who said, “Necessity is the mother of invention?”

Recipe: Turkey Cutlets with Mustard and Tarragon Pan Sauce
Try a new take on turkey this year.
Serves 4
1 two-pound boneless, skinless turkey breast
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons butter
2 cups dry white wine or chicken broth
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/8 cup chopped fresh tarragon
Cut the chicken vertically across the grain into about 8 cutlets. Place each one between plastic wrap and flatten with a rolling pin until each is about 1/4 inch thick. Season cutlets with salt and pepper.

Heat a tablespoon of oil and a teaspoon of butter in a skillet. Add cutlets and cook for about 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown, adding more oil and butter when flipping. Remove from heat. Set aside and cover loosely with foil.

Add stock or wine to the skillet. Bring to a boil and, scraping the bottom of pan, reduce liquid by half. Remove from heat. Whisk in mustard and tarragon. Season. Serve over cutlets.

Ask the Agent: This Month’s Question
What Should I Ask My Agent during a Listing Meeting?

When interviewing agents, ask questions that will help you learn more, not just about the agent, but about your home and your local real estate market. For example:

What is the local housing market like and what would you do to market my home? You’ll gain information about houses that have sold recently, days-on-market statistics, and the agent’s personal take on how your home compares to your neighbors’ homes.

How will the updates I’ve made (or the charm, or the decorating) affect my sales price? This will elicit more information that will help you and the agent arrive at a fair price for your home.

What, if anything, will detract from my home’s marketability? The agent will be honest with you about any negatives affecting your home’s value and suggest ways you can increase its worth.

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.
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