I love keeping up to date with real estate trends, tips and thoughts from leaders across the nation. Take some time to browse through these articles and see if there's anything you find interesting or helpful. And feel free to leave comments and interact with us as well!

Dec. 28, 2016

NEW FHA Loan Updates- Good News!

New FHA Loan Limits May Help You Buy a Home

Just before Thanksgiving, the Federal Housing Finance Agency released the conforming loan limits change for 2017. This change resulted in higher loan limits beginning in January for many counties across the country. The FHA has now followed suit. Here is what to know about the FHA Loan Limits changes.

 

The Federal Housing Administration is insuring loans for people looking to purchase a home or refinance a home with a little equity. The program insures loans up to the maximum loan limit in the county in which the property is located. Using Sonoma Sounty, California, as an example, the maximum loan limit for 2016 was $554,600. This number is rising to $595,600 for 2017. This represents a significant change for people looking to purchase a home who have good income, sufficient credit, and a healthy debt-to-income ratio who are otherwise tight on cash to close. This applies to a home buyer by allowing them to purchase up to $615,000 in the county of Sonoma with just 3.5% down. This change represents bigger borrowing power in nearly every county across the United States.

 

The fact that both FHA and the Conforming loan balances are now higher in nearly every county nationwide represents a growing trend of a more exuberant economy. Higher loan balance limits can mean the difference between renting and owning for many. This is particularly beneficial because the FHA Loan, while allowing a low down payment, is also very flexible in unique or difficult circumstances consumers sometimes are faced with.

 

 

5 Things You Need to Investigate Before You Buy a House

 

Some of the things included are:

  • Debt-to-income ratios as high as 55%
  • Credit scores as low 580 for loans up to $424,100 and 640 score for loans exceeding $424,100
  • Waiting time on previous short sale: three years
  • Waiting time on previous foreclosure: three years
  • Waiting time on previous Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: two years
  • Will allow a borrower to refinance a second mortgage up to 96.5 loan-to-value

If you are looking to buy a home in 2017, an FHA loan could be a favorable vehicle to help get you there. An experienced mortgage lender who specializes in FHA loans may be the best place to begin looking.

Keep in mind that, before you begin the lending process — or even start looking for a home — it’s a good idea to check your credit scores to see where you stand. It will let you know exactly how much loan you’ll qualify for. Also, it’s a good time to pull your credit reports to ensure there aren’t any mistakes, which could hurt your ability to get the best loan terms. You can get your two free credit scores

 

Article Originally Sourced from Credit.com by Scott Sheldon with Summitt Funding.

Posted in Buyers Tips
Dec. 10, 2016

World’s Largest Rooftop Wind Farm in Oklahoma City

World’s Largest Rooftop Wind Farm in Oklahoma City

Venger Wind Unveils World’s Largest Rooftop Wind Farm in Oklahoma City

Venger Wind and US renewable distributor SWG Energy just installed the world’s largest rooftop wind farm atop the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) in Oklahoma City. The project saw Venger Wind construct 18 V2 vertical axis wind turbines on the medical center’s roof as part of OMRF’s sustainability strategy to create a zero emissions research tower.

Oklahoma medical research foundation, OMRF, venger wind, v2 wind turbines, swg energy, world's largest rooftop wind farm, vertical wind turbines, wind power, wind energy, wind farm

The omni-directional wind turbines have been integrated into the design of the building and precisely positioned to collect wind from both the North and South sides of the rooftop farm. The installation of the 18 wind turbines makes the entire project the largest building integrated wind energy system in the U.S.

Unlike most vertical wind turbines, which are relatively modest in size, the V2 wind turbines are massive. They stand 18.5 feet tall and are rated at 4.5 kilowatts each. Unlike conventional wind turbines that use energy from the grid to start, the vertical turbines start producing electricity at 8.9 mph, which is well below Oklahoma City’s annual wind speed average.

Venger Wind is a global clean technology company engaged in the design, manufacturing and marketing of small wind turbines developed to generate clean electricity. Their V2 turbines are based on the work of Finnish engineer Sigurd Johannes Savonius who first invented the Savonius wind turbine in 1922.

Speaking about the project, Ken Morgan, Venger Wind’s Chairman and CMO said; “This project took a lot of hard work and long hours from all involved. This is a groundbreaking success for Venger Wind and the small wind industry worldwide. The potential to provide wind energy at the point of use, within urban environments is a major paradigm shift from the typical large wind scenarios where multi megawatt systems are forced to be installed farther and farther away from populations where the energy is needed most.”

“The small wind industry still has a long way to go in educating ourselves and our customers on properly assessing and installing wind turbines on buildings. It truly is a whole new science that has emerged and we are very excited with the Architects and Engineers we currently work with whom are pioneering new concepts for wind turbine integration into buildings. The OMRF building is an exemplary example of what is possible.”

Click here to view a video of the installation of the turbines.

Original article sourced from: http://inhabitat.com/venger-wind-unveils-worlds-la…

Posted in Lovely Oklahoma!
Dec. 9, 2016

Here’s How Much Salary You Need to Buy an Average US House

Here’s How Much Salary You Need to Buy an Average US House

While home prices are rising around the country, potential home buyers can take some solace in interest rates, which continue to defy expectations that they’re going to increase.

The median price of a house in 27 major metro areas in the U.S. is $222,700. In order to afford such a house with a 20 percent down payment in the fourth quarter of 2015, a family would need to earn at least $51,114, according to a new analysis by mortgage research firm HSH.com. That’s just slightly below the median annual wage of $53,000.

Of course, the old adage that all real estate is local holds true. A median-priced home in Pittsburgh costs $128,000, about a sixth of what it cost to buy a median-priced home in San Francisco. Residents of the former city would need wages of just $31,134 to become homeowners, while those in the latter would need to earn nearly $150,000.

The report used local home prices as well as local mortgage rates to compare the base cost of owning a house—mortgage principal, interest, taxes and insurance —but did not include other expenses such as maintenance and utilities. HSH found that mortgage rates fell in all 27 metros to a national average of just over 4 percent. Rates have fallen even further since the start of the year.

Article sourced from http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/04/heres-how-much-sala…

Writen by Beth Braverman

Posted in Buyers Tips
Dec. 8, 2016

Rent or Buy: Either Way You’re Paying A Mortgage

Rent or Buy: Either Way You’re Paying A Mortgage

Rent or Buy: Either Way You're Paying A Mortgage


There are some renters that have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage – either your mortgage or your landlord’s.

As The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return.  
That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

Christina Boyle, a Senior Vice President, Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Managementat Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

The graph below shows the widening gap in net worth between a homeowner and a renter:

Rent or Buy: Either Way You're Paying A Mortgage | Simplifying The Market

BOTTOM LINE

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, owning might make more sense than renting with home values and interest rates projected to climb.

Original article from my friend Brin Collins: http://www.collinsmortgageteam.com/rent-or-buy-eit…

Posted in Buyers Tips
Dec. 4, 2016

How to Sell a House Faster and For More Money

How to Sell a House Faster and For More Money

The thought of selling your house may make you very nervous. You want to sell your house fast and get the most money possible. Here are a few improvements to your home that you can do in order to sell your home faster and for more money.

How to Sell a House Faster and For More Money

Curb Appeal
People will not even view your home if it does not look good from the outside. Make sure your grass is mowed, there are no weeds in your flower beds, hedges are trimmed, gutters are clear, and that all of the kids’ toys are picked up. Your trash cans need to be out of sight and some new flowers would be a nice touch. Consider pressure washing your house to make it look very clean. You need to not only be concerned with your property but your neighbors’ properties and the neighborhood as a whole. If your neighbors do not keep their lawn mowed, then offer to do it for them until your home sells. If there is trash in the community areas of your neighborhood, spend a few hours picking it up. If your home needs a new paint job, then tackle that project. Consider adding outdoor lighting to emphasize your home, make it appear more safe (especially in the winter when it gets darker sooner), and to show off the for sale sign. Install an updated doorbell, a nice welcome mat, and a colorful potted plant on the front porch since potential buyers will spend about 1 minute there while the realtor attempts to unlock the door.

Maintenance
You need to make sure all of the little maintenance projects that you have been putting off are complete before showing your home. If little things are left undone then potential buyers will feel that the home was not cared for and there are probably bigger problems. One simple maintenance item that is often overlooked is to ensure that none of your light fixtures have burnt out light bulbs.

Declutter
The most cost effective thing you can do when selling your home is to declutter. Clutter causes a house to feel smaller and make it seem like there is not enough storage space. Stash boxes of unnecessary items under your bed, in the trunk of your car, in the attic, in a storage unit, and at your parents’ house. Get rid of smaller pieces of furniture that can also look cluttered and keep only the larger basic pieces. Remove many of the kids toys and a lot of your accessories. Don’t forget about cleaning out your closets and remove all of the magnets on your fridge. Consider removing half of your clothes from your master bedroom closet to make it appear bigger. After you have finished decluttering, do it again.

Deep Clean
Make your home look like it is brand new. Steam clean your carpets. Deep clean your tile grout. Wash your windows. Clean your oven. Ensure that there are no odors from cigarette smoke, pets, the bathroom, or any other source. You may wish to run your whole house fan to distribute air throughout the house so it doesn’t feel stale and/or bake some cookies prior to expecting potential buyers to make the home smell nice.

Depersonalize
To appeal to the most buyers as possible, remove as many personal items as possible. Personal items include family photos, religious items, bold and bright colors, taxidermy, and other items that may not appeal to the masses.

Pets
Many people love their pets, but may not love your pet. Instead of keeping your pets in a cage or locked in a room while potential buyers are viewing your home, take your pets with you. Also remove all clues that a pet lives in the home – such as water bowls, cages, and pet toys.

Light
Light in a room makes it feel more welcoming and larger. When expecting a potential buyer, turn on all lights and open your window blinds and curtains to let the most light into your home.

 

Orginal article sourced from: http://interiordesigninfo.com/index.php/home-buying-selling-a-investing/898-how-to-sell-a-house-faster-and-for-more-money

Posted in Seller Tips
Dec. 3, 2016

Top 5 most valuable (and least valuable) projects for adding value to your home

Top 5 most valuable (and least valuable) projects for adding value to your home

If you’re looking for ways to boost the value of your home, you should know that not all investments are made equal. Luckily, Half Price Shutters created an infographic that details the five most valuable home improvement projects, as well as the five least valuable projects. The infographic not only explains why certain investments are better than others, but also includes the expected ROI of each project and as well as helpful tips to consider. The list is also rounded out by some eco-friendly recommendations, like energy-efficient windows, which offer great estimated return on investments.

Original Article Sourced from:

http://inhabitat.com/top-5-most-valuable-and-least…

Posted in Seller Tips
Dec. 2, 2016

#1 Renovation to Make Before Selling Your Home

#1 Renovation to Make Before Selling Your Home

Scott McGillivray’s tips for updating the most important room in your house—on a budget!—are pretty genius. 

After buying and selling hundreds of properties over the years, you could say that Scott McGillivray, host of HGTV’s Income Property, knows a thing or two about real estate. We recently hosted a live chat on Facebook to ask the contractor and real estate investor for his best tips for homeowners looking to sell.

According to McGillivray, who recently teamed up with Owners.com to give consumers access to the services required to successfully buy and sell a home online, the key to raising your home’s value lies in making smart renovations. “Statistically, the majority of people will renovate their homes in preparation for selling it, which is a great idea because if you do the right investments, you’re going to make the most return on your investments,” he told CountryLiving.com.

Not sure where to start? McGillivray says the most important room in any house is the kitchen—it must be in good condition before you sell.

“I don’t think that’s a huge mystery to people or a big surprise,” added McGillivray. “However, there a fews things you can do on your own, DIY style, to earn that sweat equity and make sure buyers are happy with your home.”

Here are McGillivray’s tips for renovating your kitchen:

1. IF YOUR KITCHEN NEEDS SOME WORK, DECIDE ON THE AMOUNT OF WORK THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE. 

McGillivray suggests tackling a few small projects on your own instead of taking on a full gut renovation just to sell your home. “A lot of buyers will want to do what they feel is great for a kitchen,” he explained. “However you also don’t want to sell a house where the kitchen is in really bad shape.” It’s about finding that perfect balance.

2. UPDATE THE HARDWARE.

“The door hardware in kitchens is super simple to update,” says McGillivray. “It’s essentially a few screws, standard spacing. It’s a few bucks a piece and it can make a huge impact.”

3. PAY ATTENTION TO FINISHINGS. 

According to McGillivray, remodeling the “jewelry” in your kitchen can make the rest of the space look more updated. “Look at the faucet, the countertop—all of these things can be done without hiring a contractor to tear your whole place apart.” 

4. UPDATING YOUR APPLIANCES CAN GO A LONG WAY.

“People automatically associate the caliber of the space based on the appliances,” says McGillivray. If they see nice new appliances, they’ll see the whole space as newer too.

Original article sourced from: http://www.countryliving.com/real-estate/a38151/sc…

Posted in Seller Tips
Oct. 22, 2016

Preparing to Sell

Preparing to Sell

 

Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the rattles in the radiators doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may never get to see the inside.

Neutralize. You want buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, this will be much harder for them to do. Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with something more neutral—beiges, tans, and whites. Repainting and reflooring will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities.

Stage. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to play dress up. Home stagers can add small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture. Home staging can be particularly useful if your home is especially old or if the exterior looks dated. Think of it as a little mascara and rouge—if it’s done right, you notice the beauty, not the makeup.

Posted in Seller Tips
July 28, 2016

To FSBO or Not To FSBO

To FSBO or Not To FSBO

To FSBO or Not To FSBO, that is the question!

Real estate is changing. The way people list, search, buy and sell homes is radically different than it was even just a decade ago. Today it’s easier than ever before to list your home FSBO and save thousands in agent fees. But what are the real pro’s and cons of FSBO vs using an agent? Let’s take a look and see.

THE PROS

If your buyer is not using a real estate agent, then you normally can save around 6% of the sale price of your home!

You’re in control. You get to pick the price, the appointment times and when/how you negotiate with the buyer.

You know your home better than any agent so you can point out all of it’s amenties.

There are several avenues to list your property FSBO. You can put a sign on your lawn with attractive flyers, put up an ad on Craig’s List, list it in local papers and on websites like ForSaleByOwner.comHomesByOwner.comZillow.com and Owners.com.

THE CONS

There’s the risk of selling your home for a lot less than it’s worth. Statistics have shown that the average FSBO home sells for about 15% less than homes sold through a realtor.

Your home will have less visibility. While there are lots of venues to for you to promote your home, most FSBO type websites charge you for your listing based on a flat fee. And the number of people searching those sites is drastically reduced from the general buying market. Only licensed agents are allowed to list homes on the local Multiple Listing Service, which is one of the biggest online tools real estate agents and buyers use.

Realtors have more experience, and sometimes more drive, in promoting your home through ads, signs and other methods.

Preparing legal forms, disclosures etc. is your responsibility, and if you’re unfamiliar with the guidelines and requirements, which most of us are, you take the risk of financial and legal liability. In fact FSBO listings attributed for around 20% of all homes sold in the 1980′s, but due to increased paperwork and legal issues, today FSBO listings have shrunk down to around 10%. And some sources report that FSBO actual home sales only attribute for 2% of all home sales in the US.

You’ll have to spend a lot of time educating yourself on the process of selling a home, the current market, advertising methods and working with potential buyers.

It might be harder to weed out unqualified/uninterested buyers. Unfortunately, people who may not be able to get the proper financing will seek out homes that are for sale by owner because they know most private sellers are pretty inexperienced. You’ll also get some “just curious” folks who aren’t serious about buying a home but like to look around. These types of inquiries will waste a lot of your time and can distract you from serious buyers.

THE ALTERNATIVE TO FSBO

Fortunately, Wortman Realty is a new breed of licensed real estate agency. If you’re interested in trying your hand at FSBO in order to save your fees, we have some very exciting offers for you. We can help you get the best of both worlds, selling your hand fast, and helping you keep more of your hard earned equity in your pocket.

Call or Test us today for more details: 405-308-7509

Posted in Seller Tips
July 7, 2016

9 Must-Visit Flea Markets In Oklahoma Where You’ll Find Awesome Stuff

9 Must-Visit Flea Markets In Oklahoma Where You’ll Find Awesome Stuff

Are you a fan of HGTV’s Flea Market Flip and looking for places in Oklahoma to find some of your own treasures? You won’t believe the hidden gems that you’ll find at these unique flea markets. Get ready to scour these booths and tents at Oklahoma’s finest flea markets in the state:

1. Admiral Flea Market: Tulsa

1. Admiral Flea Market: Tulsa

Admiral-Flea-Market/Facebook

ok299-admiral2

Admiral-Flea-Market/Facebook

Admiral Flea Market is located in Tulsa and is open Fridays from 9am-4pm, Saturday and Sunday from 9am-5pm (inside) and from 7am-5pm (outside). You can find everything from new to vintage at this unique flea market.

2. Mary’s Swap Meet: Oklahoma City

2. Mary's Swap Meet: Oklahoma City

Marys-Swap-Meet/Facebook

ok299-marys2

Marys-Swap-Meet/Facebook

Visit Mary’s Swap Meet, an old time outdoor swap meet, where you can find great deals and an atmosphere quite different to anything you’ve seen before. You’ll find livestock and unique treasures at this lively event. Mary’s is open Saturday and Sunday from 5:30am 4:00pm.

3. Cherokee Strip Company: Ponca City

3. Cherokee Strip Company: Ponca City

cherokeestripcompany/facebook

ok299-cherokee

cherokeestripcompany/facebook

Cherokee Strip Company offers antiques, flea market, farm market, wedding and party rentals, tours & sightseeing, and venue rentals in Ponca City. The store is very well laid out, clean and organized, with so many eclectic and interesting artifacts. Please call (580) 765-0004 for hours and days of operation.

4. Dog Trade Flea Market: Sulphur

4. Dog Trade Flea Market: Sulphur

sulphurdogtrade/facebook

ok299-dogtrade2

sulphurdogtrade/facebook

Bivens Dog Trade is a flea market in Sulphur, Oklahoma. They open at 5am every Sunday morning. Dog Trade is a good mix of hometown folks mixed with garage/yard sale goods & a flea market. You can get fresh fruit & veggies, search through antiques, farm tools & animals, get a new pet or buy some clothes…all outdoors.

5. Tulsa Flea Market: Tulsa

5. Tulsa Flea Market: Tulsa

Tulsa-Flea-Market/Facebook

ok299-tulsa

Tulsa-Flea-Market/Facebook

This family-owned and operated flea market is THE place for a unique and enjoyable shopping experience. It is a markedly different sort of flea market you won’t find anywhere else. Browse over 50,000 square feet of INDOOR booth space in a relaxed, friendly, clean and comfortable air conditioned atmosphere. Admission is FREE of charge. They are open most Saturdays from 8am-4pm at the Tulsa Fairgrounds/Expo Square.

6. Gan’s Mall & Annex: Bartlesville

6. Gan's Mall & Annex: Bartlesville

gansmall/facebook

Gan’s Mall is one of Northeast Oklahoma’s leading providers of top notch “flea market & antique malls.” They offer a true hometown small business that is a friendly place to shop and visit. They are open every day of the week & most holidays, Monday through Saturday from 10:00am – 5:30pm and Sunday 1:00pm – 5:00pm.

7. Industry Flea: Oklahoma City

7. Industry Flea: Oklahoma City

Industryflea/facebook

ok299-industry

Industryflea/facebook

The Industry Flea is an open-air market of artisans, local shops and vintage finds in Downtown OKC. This casual, family-friendly market in the heart of midtown is a must-visit.

8. The Swap Shop: Paul’s Valley

8. The Swap Shop: Paul's Valley

theswapshoppv/facebook

Located near the Amtrak station in Paul’s Valley is The Swap Shop, an indoor flea market of individual booths with everything from furniture to vintage clothing and antiques to home decor. It’s a little piece of heaven for creative people to find hidden treasures at great prices.

9. Swick’s Flea Market: West Tulsa

9. Swick's Flea Market: West Tulsa

SwicksFleaMarket/Facebook

ok299-swicks

SwicksFleaMarket/Facebook

Located in West Tulsa, Swicks is a Saturday only flea market. They offer indoor and outdoor vendor space for convenient shopping. Find lots of great deals at this family-friendly atmosphere on Saturday’s from 8am-5pm.

Posted in Lovely Oklahoma!