Got scalpel? Would you operate on yourself?

The questions in the headline are something of an exaggeration and wholly a cliché that I was too weak to resist, but a new online service made me do it.

You can check yourself, then wonder how well the process would work for you in New York.  In a nutshell, the site describes its benefits this way:

Buyers can search homes for sale, request showings, and make an offer on a home online, while sellers can list a home for free, get information on low cost and discount ways to advertise their properties tapping the best of web 2.0, get professional yard signs, receive and negotiate offers, and finalize a purchase agreement in a private, online Deal Room.

From my biased point of view, I can’t imagine that even the site’s cafeteria of services would help buyers anywhere; as for sellers trying to unload a home themselves, that debate continues.

Although Robert Hahn, a consultant focusing on the real estate industry, sees the site as the beginning of the end of buyer representation, Continue reading

Five things brokers do that turn off buyers

(Flickr photo by Paul G)

The list of things that buyers hate when looking for a property online and then in person is a long one.

Fortunately for us, Inman News columnist Tara-Nicholle Nelson has distilled the list to five notable turn-offs.  With my embellishment, they are: Continue reading

Consumers give brokers a piece of their mind

flickr photo by kalavinka

At a recent conference for real estate professionals, a panel of buyers, sellers and renters got some concerns off their chest.

Among the qualities they said they appreciated in their agents and brokers, according to an account in Inman News of the Real Estate Connect event:

  • Being”upfront and honest;”
  • Supportiveness via the provision of professional expertise and advice on the process;
  • Trustworthiness;
  • Accessibility;
  • Responsiveness;
  • Understanding of a customer’s needs and wants;
  • Improved presentation of properties online;
  • Willingness to wait as long as it takes a customer to make a purchase decision;
  • Connections;
  • Flexibility to break out of long-standing industry models;
  • Professional marketing, including exceptional Web sites.

One panelist told of Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Rates at low, buyers indifferent

Here’s your chance to catch up with news included to inform, enlighten and perhaps even entertain you. To read about The Big Apple, check out the other of today’s posts and look for Out and About early next week.

She’s playing doubles for real in Tiffany’s onetime building

Publisher finds UWS apartment that fits all his needs

Broadcaster shuns West End Avenue and brother’s mansion upstate

Wank– uh, WEIner pulls– uh, yanks—  uh, jerks. . . Oh hell: he takes co-op off the market

Home on Connecticut pond is for sale, and weight-loss guru slims down her asking price

Inman News cites 10 best markets for real estate investors

Close look reveals that prices are stabilizing, says Barclays analyst

But Continue reading

Mortgage rates below 5% for third week in a row

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.92 percent this week, up from last week’s 4.87 percent, according to Freddie Mac today.  Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.46 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week was 4.37 percent, up from 4.33 percent last week but below 6.14 percent a year ago.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.38 percent in comparison with last week’s 4.35 percent and 6.14 percent last year.

The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM was up 4.60 percent from the prior week’s 4.53 percent and the prior year’s 5.16 percent.

This is great news for anyone planning to buy property now, but I’m not aware of any expert who believes that mortgage rates have anywhere to go but up.  Even the self-interested Mortgage Bankers Association is forecasting an increase during 2010.

And I’ve just across a column in Inman News, in which Steve Bergsman cites a couple of such experts.

It “looks like it is going to be huge,” he quotes Celia Chen, a senior director at Moody’s, as saying about the nation’s budget deficit.  She continues:

“If the budget deficit is too large, then the government is borrowing a lot and having to issue more Treasury bonds. That will cause the price of Treasuries to fall and if that happens, yields have to increase and interest rates will rise.”

“There is no doubt that interest rates are going to have to go up,” adds William Conerly, an economic consultant and author of “Businomics From the Headlines To Your Bottom Line: How To Profit in Any Economic Cycle.”

What rising rates mean in this market is that a family’s monthly housing costs will rise if prices don’t slip further, as they well may.  Or they will at best stay about constant if prices fall.

Because of the interest rate tax deduction, mortgage payments arguably may even go down after tax in a housing environment where prices also go down as loan rates go up.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201 Continue reading