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Displaying blog entries 31-40 of 58

New Homes Are Being Built Smaller

by Pistol Tingen

According to the National Association of Home Builders, for the first time in at least a decade, builders are substantially reducing the size of new houses.

"We're trending toward smaller homes," says Gopal Ahualia, director of research for the National Association of Home Builders.  He says growth in the average size of new single-family homes, which went from 1,750 square feet in 1978 to 2,479 in 2007, is starting to reverse.

His analysis of Census data shows that homes started in the third quarter of 2008 averaged 2,438 square feet, down from 2,629 square feet in the second quarter. Ahluwalia, who began the quarterly analysis in 1999, says there have been slight dips before, but the latest drop was much steeper and is likely to hold even after the economy recovers.

In a survey of builders this month, his group found that 89% are building or planning smaller homes than they had been.

Kermit Baker, chief economist of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), also sees the shift toward smaller houses.   He says it was obvious with high-end buyers even before the economic downturn and he expects it to continue with them.

"Affordability is a major problem," Ahluwalia says, and building smaller usually means cheaper.  Also, he says, people are realizing as household size shrinks that they don't need big homes.

Baker says there is less incentive to buy a bigger, more expensive home as the economy weakens, home prices fall and energy costs remain a concern.  He says people are less likely to see a home as a good investment.

Even high-end buyers, Baker says, are showing more interest in smaller, better-crafted homes.

"People don't want to be wasteful," says JD Callander of Weichert Realtors.  She says they are concerned about utility costs and cleaning requirements.

Clients used to like the status of a big home, she says, but "those days are gone."

Large or small , new or existing-- when you're looking for a home in the Greenville, NC or Pitt County area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at 252-321-6161 for all your real estate needs.

 


For the week ending January 8, 2009, Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.01 percent with an average 0.6 point. The new, low rate  is down from last week when it averaged 5.10 percent.  Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.87 percent.  The 30-year FRM has not been lower since Freddie Mac started the Primary Mortgage Market Survey in 1971.

the 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.62 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.83 percent.  A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.43 percent.  The 15-year FRM has not been lower since June 13, 2003, when it averaged 4.60 percent.

According to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, "Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell for the tenth week to a fourth consecutive record low due in part to the Federal Reserve's recent purchases of mortgage-backed securities issued by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae."  He added, "On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve announced that it planned to purchase up to $500 billion of these securities by the end of June of this year." For the sake of comparison, there were roughly $4.7 trillion of such securities backed by home mortgages available as of September 30, 2008.

If you are interested in taking advantage of these record-breaking, low interest rates and purchasing property in the Pitt County or Greenville, NC area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at 252-321-6161.

ECU Recognized For Community Achievements

by Pistol Tingen

East Carolina University and seven other UNC system schools have been recognized nationally for community outreach and engagement achievements.

ECU is one of only 195 institutions in the country to be recognized for community engagement by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Community engagement is a collaboration between a university and its communities in mutually beneficial partnerships that respond to community needs by sharing skills, knowledge and resources.

The foundation, which makes assessments of colleges and universities, has announced that 119 campuses received the engaged distinction for 2008, joining 76 that were identified in 2006.

The other University of North Carolina campuses include Appalachian State University, North Carolina Central University, UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Pembroke and Western Carolina University. Those campuses join North Carolina State University and UNC-Chapel Hill that received the designation in 2006.

With the announcement, the proportion of North Carolina's public universities deemed by the Carnegie Foundation to be “community engaged” far exceeds that of peer state systems across the country including California, Texas and Wisconsin, according to the UNC system administration.

“Receiving this classification confirms what we at ECU already know — that the commitment and practice of engagement are woven throughout our teaching, research, service and outreach enterprises,” said ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard. “This is our history and a core strength as we pursue our mission to serve as a national model for public service and regional transformation.”

If you would like to know more about East Carolina University or real estate in the Pitt County area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

Mortgage Rates at 37-Year Low

by Pistol Tingen

Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages have dropped to their lowest levels in at least 37 years.

Freddie Mac, the mortgage company reported this week that average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 5.19 percent, down from the year’s previous low of 5.47 percent set last week. The rate is the lowest since Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage rate survey began in April 1971.

A daily survey found that the national average rate fell even lower on December 17 to 5.06 percent according to financial publisher HSH Associates, the lowest since the 1960s and down from 5.3 percent on December 16.

If you would like to know today’s current mortgage interest rates--or other real estate-related facts in the  Greenville, NC area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

ECU Receives Dental School Project Funding Early

by Pistol Tingen

Gov. Mike Easley just announced that he is fast-tracking more than $700 million in capital improvement projects in North Carolina, including $105.8 million for East Carolina University's School of Dentistry as well as its Family Medicine and Geriatric Center.  Easley's announcement will allow ECU to get an unexpected jump start with the $69 million for the dental school and the $36.8 million for the family medicine center.

The two projects had been approved by the Legislature in its last session, but funding had been frozen. This announcement unfreezes the funds, which were expected to unavailable until sometime in 2009, according to ECU spokesman John Durham.

Easley said going to the market now with the $700 million in statewide capital improvement projects is cost effective because interest rates and building costs are low.

Economists estimate that, for each dollar spent on a construction project, $2.28 is pumped into the state’s economy, and every $1 million spent on a project results in 36 new jobs. Easley’s office says that means these projects will produce 26,000 new jobs.

Did you ever wonder why some credit report inquiries affected your credit score and some didn't? Following is some information about credit report inquiries by Blueprint for Financial Prosperity that I found useful.


Did you know that when a company checks out your credit report, it can damage your credit score temporarily? It depends on if the inquiry is "hard" or "soft." Hard inquiries ding your score, soft don't. If you're going to get a mortgage or a car loan, a few points difference translates into a big chunk of change. So how do you know when an inquiry is going to be "soft" or "hard?"

A hard inquiry is when a person or organization requests your credit score and history and they intend to make a lending decision. Applying for a credit card? Hard inquiry. Getting approved for a car loan or mortgage loan? Hard inquiry. On your reports, each of the credit unions categorize these inquiries differently. TransUnion calls them "regular inquiries," Experian calls them "requests viewed by others," and Equifax calls them "Inquiries in the last 12 months." Hard inquiries usually drop your score by a few points for six months, then their effect is removed. This is why it's usually NOT a good idea to apply for credit cards before you get a mortgage loan.

A soft inquiry is everything else. They are often used by a person or organization when they don't intend to make a lending decision, though there are exceptions from one institution to another. Landlords and prospective employers will use them to assess your financial risk. Banks often use soft inquiries to confirm your identity. Credit cards and mortgage lenders use them to decide whether to pre-approve you for a card or a loan. When you check your own credit history, that's a soft inquiry. Soft inquiries have no effect on your score.

Sound simple? It's not. Do you think a applying for a checking account would be a hard or soft inquiry? It's actually a hard inquiry. To help you out the members of the Fatwallet forum have compiled a list of financial institutions that use hard inquiries when requesting your score and history for reasons other than credit card or loan approval.

(Scroll to bottom to see list of those that DON'T do hard pulls)

A

+ American Express Co. pulled Experian for a One Financial account without margin (combination brokerage/savings).
+ Ameriprise Insurance (division of American Express) - for car insurance quote (Equifax)
+ AT&T pulled Transunion for current customer moving from CA to OH initiating "new" landline
+ ATTWS - Equifax

B

+ Bank of America pulled Trans Union for a checking account.
+ Bank of America pulled Trans Union for a CD account opened online.(3/20/2007)
+ Bank of America pulled Experian for a checking account. (8/29/06)
+ Bank Of America - Pulled a hard enquiry after applying *only* for savings account.
+ Bank Of America - Pulled a hard enquiry on Experian for MM savings account 4/2007
+ Bank of Atlanta
+ Bank of New York pulled Experian for a checking account and a savings account.
+ BB&T pulled Equifax for a checking account.
+ Brookline Bank pulled Experian for a checking account.
+ Brown & Co. pulls a hard one for EACH account that you open with TransUnion.

C

+ Catholic Federal pulled TU for new membership and opening of new checking.
+ Charles Schwab Bank pulled Equifax for opening new checking and investor account (without margin option)
+ Charter One Bank pulled Equifax for a checking account under the name St. Paul Bank Corp.
+ Chase Manhattan Bank pulled Trans Union for a checking account.
+ Cingular Wireless pulled Equifax.
+ Citibank pulled Equifax (for opening 6-month CD)
+ Citibank pulled Trans Unions for a checking and savings account opened at the same time.
+ Citibank pulls hard inquiry for opening e-Savings account
+ Citizens - checking - Equifax
+ Clackamas Community Federal Credit Union - hard inquiry for savings and CD accounts
+ Comcast cable TV and HSI
+ ComED
+ Costco AMEX car insurance ran a Hard Inquiry on me
+ Countrywide (stopped pulling sometime in 2007)

D

+ DCU (Digital Federal Credit Union) pulls a hard inquiry from Equifax when applying for membership.
+ Directv
+ DishNetwork
+ Dollar RENT A CAR (see Thrifty below)

E

+ Ebank - checking - Equifax
+ Everbank - pulled Experian for a Money Market Account, as well as for a checking one.

F

+ Fidelity - LionBank (Not Fidelity Investments)
+ Financial Center Credit Union
+ Fifth Third - Opening Checking Account
+ Flagstar Bank - Checking - Pulls TU

G

+ GMAC Bank - pulled TU for their MM savings account

H

+ HARRIS BANK — CD

I

+ Indiana Members Credit Union
+ ING Direct - When you open Electric Orange checking account, they will hard pull Equifax to determine the overdraft credit line limit for you. No hard pull for opening Orange Savings account.

J

+ Johnson & Johnson by Yale & Associates on Experian- employment

L

+ Local gas & electric utility (We Energies - Wisconsin)
+ Local Honda dealer- check + 5K credit card
+ Local Nissan dealer (Coral Springs Nissan Auto Mall) pulled a HARD one when I browsed their inventory
+ Local Toyota dealership- cash transaction

M

+ Marquette National Bank — checking, savings, CD and safe deposit box
+ Meadows Credit Union pulled Trans Union for a checking account.
+ Mechanics Bank (sf) did hard pull from Equifax for a checking account.
+ Muriel Siebert & Co. pulled Experian for a brokerage account without margin.

N

+ National1St Credit Union - When opening an account/CD etc - Experian had pull
+ NASA Federal Credit Union - when applying for membership - Equifax hard pull

P

+ People's Gas
+ Pentagon Federal Credit Union
+ Presidential Bank pulled Equifax for a checking account under the name Presidential Savings.
+ Principal Bank pulled Equifax for a checking account, also pulls for money market account according to CSR.
+ Provident Central Credit Union, Bay Area, CA - When opening an account - Experean hard pull

Q

+ Qwest

S

+ Salem Five - pulled Equifax for a checking account.
+ Schwab - hard pull on Equifax for a checking account.
+ SCOTTRADE - hard pull on Equifax
+ Sprint - Long Distance for having them as the LD provider on a home phone.
+ State Farm Auto Insurance - for getting an auto insurance quote.
+ Suntrust - pulls an Equifax for opening of a checking account

T

+ T-Mobile for cell phone service on Transunion or Equifax
+ TD Waterhouse/Ameritrade pulled Equifax on an exisiting customer to open IRA
+ Thrifty RENT A CAR did hard pull prior to rental

U

+ UFBDirect.com - 3.30% on High Yield Money Market Savings
+ US Bank ( online / phone only. soft pull when opening in branch)

V

+ Verizon - landline, DSL, or VoIP (on Equifax or TransUnion). Also for new cellphone account.

W

+ Wachovia-Trans union (or Equifax in some cases) for opening a checking account
+ Wanigas CU - Pulls to become Member, Pulls for Checking - Experian
+ Wells Fargo (When ever you make any changes like adding additional account holder, change address on your account etc, their Credit department is making a hard enquiry on Experean, I fought with them to get it Re-Classified as a soft pull, be very careful with Wells Fargo). Add this also, i change my account from regular to all advantage account (have free bill pay, checks etc) and a hard pull.

—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-—-
Banks that DO NOT pull hard credit inquiries

Amalgamated Bank
Countrywide Bank FSB
FNBO Direct
PNC Bank (for opening a free checking account), soft pull in Equifax
Valley National Bank of NJ
Washington Mutual
U.S. Bank (in-branch visits only)

Review that list, compiled from empirical data, to help you make your credit decisions. Note: This list is pulled from a Fatwallet group-edited post. Check the original post for the most up-to-date information.

Jim writes the blog Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

FREE SEMINAR: HOW TO BUY A FORECLOSURE

by Pistol Tingen

In light of the harsh economic times and rampant foreclosures, the Pistol Tingen Team is conducting a free, educational Q & A seminar on how to buy foreclosures as a first time home buyer, move up buyer or investor.

We offer a positive perspective where there is currently so much negative. It is an excellent time for first time buyers to realize the American dream, or for investors to capitalize on low prices and abundant availablilty in the Greenville/Pitt County area. As one analyst recently wrote, “this is the opportunity of a generation to increase wealth through home/real estate ownership”.

Learn everything you need to know about buying foreclosures at this seminar. Taking place on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008 at 9am-12pm at Prudential Prime Properties, this seminar will feature an Expert Panel of Speakers. Having handled Fannie Mae foreclosures exclusively in our market since 1991, The Pistol Tingen Team has a wealth of knowledge to share. The public is invited and seating is limited. A lender will be available for mortage questions.

Location:

Prudential Prime Properties upstairs conference room, 2625 Charles Blvd., Greenville, NC  (Across from Gold's Gym).
If you have questions or need directions, don't hesitate to call us at 252-321-6161 or email Pistol@PistolTingen.com.

East Carolina University School of Dentistry will be one of the first public dental schools in the United States established in the past 40 years with an emphasis on serving the oral health care needs of rural America by focusing the curriculum on the education of general dentists to provide dental care and health policy leadership in North Carolina communities that have limited health resources and few other dentists, particularly specialists. 

Dental schools in other states operate admirable community education programs and provide valuable service learning opportunities for their students. However, in most dental schools, these community programs are often elective experiences or relatively brief 2-4 week rotations designed to supplement the core in-school clinical training.  A recent study found that the typical senior student in U.S. dental schools receives an average of only 11 days of patient care experience in community settings.  No other dental school emphasizes the unique culture and challenges of health services delivery and medical/dental disease patterns in small town America.

ECUSOD is also unique in that the primary focus of student recruitment will be individuals from rural and underserved areas who desire to return to this environment as health care providers. The school will also take the unique approach of preparing graduates to fulfill leadership roles in these communities and will provide students with curricular experiences designed to help them succeed as general dentists and as small business operators in the often economically challenging environment of rural counties.
ECUSOD will educate graduates to function autonomously as the sole dentist within a region and thus will emphasize the diagnostic role of the general dentist since timely referral to dental specialists is often not feasible in the rural practice environment. ECUSOD students will enter school with the expectation that substantial components of the curriculum will be implemented outside the confines of the core campus and with the expectation that their capstone learning experience will be an extended immersion in a dental clinic located in a rural community away from the ECU campus.

With a projected opening date of fall 2011, ECUSOD will provide a unique dental education experience with emphasis on preparing graduates to fulfill an expanded primary care role that requires well developed assessment skills and capacity to provide a broad array of dental care services without support from dental specialists such as endodontists, oral surgeons and pediatric dentists who are often not available in rural North Carolina.

For more information about the Greenville, NC – Pitt County area—especially real estate information, please contact The Pistol Tingen Real Estate Team at (252) 321-6161.

 

Now is the perfect time to buy a home or invest in real estate in the Greenville, NC – Pitt County area.

The Pistol Tingen Real Estate Team can help you locate a variety of well-priced properties, as well as direct you towards a multitude of financing options currently available. Contact us at (252) 321-6161 so we can show you that the timing is perfect and financing choices are still available!

See for yourself--take a moment and review our brief True – False Test below.  We think you’ll be surprised by the answers.

True or False 

1. “I have to have a large down payment to purchase a home.”
     False.
  There are several loans available that require little or NO Money Down Payments
2. “I have to have perfect credit to qualify for a home loan.”
     False.
  Loan programs are available for many buyers with mid range credit scores.
3. “Homes are not a good investment now.”
     False.
  The September 2008 average sales price of a single family home in Pitt County was      higher than for September 2007.

Current economic fundamentals show that this is a good time to buy a home. 

Here are the Top 4 Ways to Buy a Home Now!

1.  USDA Offers 100% Financing
     You may even be able to financing closing costs!
2.  3% Down FHA Loans
      Easy Underwriting guidelines still available!
3.  100% Veterans Loans
     Qualifed Veterans are exempt from 1st Time Homebuyers Requirements! 
4.  NC Housing with Down Payment Assistance
    
You may borrow  $7,000  for down payment and closing costs with no interest and deferred payments!  Income and sales price limits may apply.  Contact The Pistol Tingen Team for a referral to a Mortgage Specialist who can assist you.

Plus, the once-in-a-lifetime $7,500 tax credit available to many First Time Buyers, makes a home purchase today an even greater investment!

First-Time Buyer Tax Credit: A Reason to Buy Now

When you combine the tax credit with today’s continuing low interest rates, large selection of for-sale inventory, and low home prices, now is a perfect time to buy a home.

How the Tax Credit Works

The First-time Home Buyer Tax Credit was passed this year as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 3221) on July 30 and targets any individual or household that hasn’t owned a home for at least three years. Taxpayers can take the credit on their 2008 tax return if they bought their house this year after April 9.

It’s worth up to $7,500 and can be taken in a single tax year. Authorization for the credit ends July 1, 2009, so if you wait to buy in the first half of 2009, you can take the credit on your 2009 tax return.

The actual credit amount is set as a percentage of the home purchase amount. That percentage amount is 10 percent, so you can get 10 percent of the home price credited against your tax liability, up to a maximum $7,500.

Income limits are $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for households. Individuals whose income exceeds the $75,000 limit but isn’t more than $95,000 can still take the credit but on a reduced basis. The same thing applies to households earning up to $170,000.

Any house is eligible as long as it’s a primary residence and is in the United States.

Buyers Have 15 Years to Pay Back

To help keep the program cost effective for taxpayers, the federal government requires the tax credit to be paid back in small, 6.67-percent increments over 15 years. For that reason, some analysts have likened the credit to a 15-year, interest-free loan to help make home buying affordable.

There’s one restriction on the type of financing that home buyers can use if they plan to take the credit. That restriction is on tax-exempt mortgage financing. That only applies if the home buyers are using below-market interest-rate financing from a public agency or nonprofit that’s funding the loan using proceeds from a tax-exempt mortgage-revenue bond issue. For most buyers, this won’t be an issue. It’s mainly an issue for low-income buyers using special mortgage financing.

Whether you’re thinking about buying or selling, or if you have questions about the Greenville, NC – Pitt County real estate market, please call The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

The Reality of Real Estate

by Pistol Tingen


     The media, all brands and flavors, has done a magnificent job of portraying the housing market as distressed and all but out of business.  Yes, there are areas that have been hard hit such as resort markets where property “flipping” was all the rage along with the belief that rising values would never end.  Well, it’s silly to believe that any commodity has an infinite price point and when markets got overbuilt and overpriced, look at what happened.  No one should be surprised.  There are other parts of the country that have faced manufacturing plant closings and other job losses and that has had a dramatic and profoundly negative impact on the housing market.

     But what about North Carolina and, especially, the Greenville-Pitt County area?  North Carolina and our locale are some of the hottest destinations in the country for business, industry and retirement.  There is no reason to believe that is going to change over the long term, and that’s good news for real estate.

     Let’s look at homes from a practical point of view.  A home is somewhere you live. It is something you can enjoy every day. It is something you can improve over time and immediately reap the benefits.  It is also something that affords most families a significant tax break through the mortgage interest deduction.  And as you pay down your mortgage over time, you build equity, or savings, that millions of people have found to be invaluable over the years, aside from long term appreciation.  Is all that gone?  In my opinion, not in the long run and history validates my position.

    So, what has happened here?  The Greenville-Pitt County real estate market has slowed along with the rest of the economy.  That was inevitable.  My opinion is that it will also improve along with the rest of the economy.  Exactly when?  Nobody knows.  In the meantime, and looking over  comparisons of sales activity for the first three quarters of 2007 and 2008, the number of closed single family residential sales has declined approximately 33%, but has outperformed some other markets.  That still represents over 1,100 homes sold – not an insignificant number.   What about prices?  Prices have actually increased in our market from an average of $185, 233 last year to $187,922 this year.  A modest gain, yes, but a gain nonetheless.  The slight price rise we’ve witnessed is  an indication of the value many buyers have seen in local properties for sale, in my opinion.  What about financing with the “collapse” of the credit markets?  The fact of the matter is that mortgage financing is readily available to qualified, credit worthy buyers.   It’s that simple.  And interest rates remain at historic lows, saving individual consumers thousands of dollars in mortgage interest charges.

     So with all that in mind, is it a good time to buy a home?  With low interest rates, realistic prices, homes for sale in all price ranges, the answer is yes.  Just be mindful that real estate, as with other investments, should be viewed from a long term perspective.

Submitted By Richard Lane, Broker-In-Charge
Prudential Prime Properties

Displaying blog entries 31-40 of 58

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HomeServices Prime Properties,   Greenville, NC, 2625 Charles Blvd.

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