Home Show and Expo Returns on April 14, 2012


Arlington’s 6th Annual Home Show and Expo will be coming to Walter Reed Community Center (2909 S. 16th Street) on Saturday, April 14th, 2012 from 10-4.  More than 60 home builders, contractors and specialist vendors, architects, inspectors, Realtors, master gardeners, banks, nonprofit organizations and County housing, zoming and inspection representatives will be on hand to answer questions about your housing and remodeling needs.  There will also be free classes on a variety of topics regarding remodeling, green projects, gardening, being a landlord and other topics related to your home.  Visit the Arlington Home Show website for more details.

Arlington Resources for Foreclosure Prevention

The Arlington County website suggests three steps to help prevent foreclosure.  First, find free counseling.  There are several organizations and agencies who will help you.  Second, call today.   Third, pass it on.  If you share this information with others you may be able to keep someone else from losing their homes.

For contact information for the organizations which may be able to help and for other additional resources, visit their website here.

Old Homes can be Green Homes

The Arlington Heritage Alliance will be holding its annual meeting on May 25th at the Lyon Park Community Center with a panel of experts discussing how “Old Homes can be Green Homes” and offering tips on how to make your old home energy effficient without sacrificing its historic character.  For more information click here.

Clarendon, Lyon Village and Lyon Park

Clarendon, VirginiaNew photos of Clarendon and neighborhood information for nearby Lyon Village and Lyon Park are now available here.

It Pays to Buy Now

Little time remains for you to take advantage of the Federal Home Buyer Tax Credit. Along with high affordability and low mortgage rates, tax incentives make now a great time for first-time and repeat buyers to purchase real estate. It also presents a good opportunity for sellers. To learn more, view this and contact a local Realtor to seize this great opportunity.

New Website from National Association of Realtors Offers Help for Homeowners

The National Association of Realtors announced the launching of its new consumer based website this week, HouseLogic.com, a free source of information and tools that can help you make smart and timely decisions about your home.

According to NAR’s press release, the free Web site helps homeowners plan and organize their home projects and provides timely articles and news; home improvement advice and how-to’s; and information about taxes, home finances and insurance.

“Unlike other homeownership Web sites, HouseLogic helps consumers view their home through a financial lens and make smart, informed home improvement investment decisions,” said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder. “Families can set goals for saving money on their home or increasing its value, and easily track the progress they are making on those goals.”

Visit HouseLogic at www.houselogic.com.

President Obama signs bill extending and enhancing tax credit

President Obama just signed a bill which not only extends the tax credit of up to $8000 for first time buyers to purchases  by April 30th, 2010 (and settlement by June 30th, 2010), but increases the income limits and offers existing homeowners who have lived in their primary residence for five of the last eight years a credit of up to $6500 as well.  The maximum home price is capped at $800,000.   Details are available here.

Is Homeownership Affordable?

It seems as if housing prices in the 1990’s and this decade have gone up dramatically more than incomes, making homeownership appear to be unaffordable.  But I recently attended a Long & Foster Education Day where Lawrence Yun, PhD, Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors®, gave a presentation that shows that this may not be the case.  His statistics compared the monthly mortgage payment  for a median income household buying a median priced house in 1998 with 2008.  Since interest rates in 1998 were around 7% for a thirty year fixed rate mortgage, the monthly principal and interest payment would run about 19% of household income.  Think it would be much higher in 2008?  Think again.  With interest rates around 6% in 2008, the monthly principal and interest payment is also 19% of household income.  And with today’s rates running closer to 5%, the percentage should be even lower, making homeownership more affordable than it has been in decades. 

Dr. Yun also showed that if a recession is imminent, this is not necessarily a sign of home sales continuing to decline.  While the early 80’s recession did show deep cuts in home sales, the recession in the early 90’s showed only moderate cuts in home sales, the mid-1970’s recession showed little change and the early 2000’s recession was accompanied by a rise in home sales.

First Time Homebuyer’s Tax Credit

New legislation allows first time homebuyers to be eligible for a tax credit up to $8,000 which, unlike last year’s credit, does not need to be repaid.  Purchasers must settle on the home between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009 and certain income limits apply.  “First time homebuyer” is defined as not having owned a home in the last three years.  To determine if you are eligible, go to this website for more details.  This, combined with historically low interest rates could make this an excellent time to buy your first home.

Virginia Homeowners Alliance

Are you a homeowner in Virginia?  Have you joined the Virginia Homeowner’s Alliance yet?  Membership is free and their website provides valuable resources for all homeowners.  This month’s webcast, for example, offers tips on lawn care.   New webcasts are available each month.