Last week, the tax credit expired.  Is that good or is that bad?  California has made their decision to state-fund their version of a tax credit in an attempt to continue to drive their housing market – but what about everyone else?

To me, it just doesn’t matter.  Having seen and lived through various markets (in various industries,) I have always found that there are those sales professionals who do well and those who do not.  Those who do well are always focused on what they have at their disposal to provide value to their current or potential clients.  Those sales associates who don’t do as well, are always focused on what used to be or what others have, that they do not.

So to help jump start some ‘value’ thinking, I have listed a few items that we currently have at our disposal, to benefit our customers today:

1) Mortgage rates are fantastic!  Mortgage rates continue to remain very low, and while there is always talk of volatility in the mortgage backed securities market and the impact that volatility will have on consumer rates, even 5.5% or the dreaded 6% rate threshold for a 30 year fixed is a really good rate.

2) Declining prices are an exciting opportunity for first time and move-up buyers.  Take for example, a family who lives in a market where prices have dropped 15% or more over the past year or two.  While their $285,000 home may now be worth $242,250, the home that was $400,000 is now down to $340,000 – or about a $17,000 savings above their perceived ‘lost equity’ (you can do your own math for your area.)

3) FHA Mortgages remain a very large portion of our entire lending landscape.  While the House Financial Services Committee defeated a proposal to increase the minimum down payment requirements (it’s remaining at 3.5%), the committee did agree to raise the FHA mortgage insurance premiums from its current level of 0.55 percent gradually to an annual premium of 1.5%.  Speak with your local preferred lender and have she or he notify you to find out when this will happen – but the cost will rise….soon.

4) Home prices in many markets are beginning to stabilize and, in fact, there are a few markets where home prices are beginning to increase from their lows (S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices  So, even with all the talk of ‘shadow inventory’ from forthcoming foreclosures (which I believe to be true), we may look back and see it as a time when inflation/price increases began to show again.  So, now is the time for a great deal!

When you combine these macro-level economics with the very real value that each and every one of our sales associates has at their disposal using our Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate tools in the Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Greenhouse (, we have more to offer today than ever before.

So, if you or one of your fellow sales associates is ever thinking about something you don’t have, read our blogs and re-review our web site – we are constantly adding and working hard to help you grow and have what others do not.

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