Thursday, August 21, 2014

Credit Score Changes Could Spur Metairie and New Orleans Mortgage Activity

For any Metairie or New Orleans resident who has ever been stymied by seemingly arbitrary (or, put another way, nutty) lowering of his or her all-important credit score, next month’s beginning rollout of Fair Isaac’s new credit score model should be welcome news. It will be known as “FICO 9”—and promises to correct a few of the previous model’s inadequacies.
Why now? It’s been six years since San Jose’s Fair Isaac Co. last tinkered with their credit score methodology. Hmmmm…it’s been six years, too since the financial crisis of 2007-08, which Wikipedia correctly describes as “a major global recession characterized by various systemic imbalances…including high levels of household debt...”
You might expect that the accuracy of many a Metairie or New Orleans credit score could have been thrown off-kilter during the crisis—if not throughout the painfully slow recovery that’s followed. If, for example, someone is laid off, then suffers a sudden medical emergency, a formerly spotless credit history would be seriously distorted. Add in regulatory pressure on the banks, and many truly responsible individuals could suffer unfairly. As The Wall Street Journal summarized in a recent article: “Since the recession, many lenders have approved only the best borrowers, usually those with few or no blemishes on their credit report.”
Keep in mind that the whole purpose of a FICO credit score is to help lenders predict the likelihood that an individual will repay a debt. Lenders pay for accuracy in credit scores—and last year they bought 10 billion of them!
BUT…because of two specific problem areas, the scores gradually were becoming less reliable as predictors. First, there was the fact that once a bill was sent to collection, it showed as a black mark—one that could lower a credit score by as much as 100 points—even after it was paid. For as long as seven years after it was paid! So FICO 9 will not penalize borrowers with a collection on their report once no balance remains.
Then there was a problem with medical debt scoring. According to WSJ, as of last month, more than 64 million consumers had a medical collection on their credit report. That would account for many a Metairie or New Orleans credit score being adversely affected—sometimes even when it had been an insurance company which rejected the charge…and sometimes when the consumer wasn’t even notified of the situation! Worse yet, when a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report came out in May, it found that many borrowers’ credit scores weren’t being raised even after they repaid such a debt. FICO 9 will count medical debt sent to collections as less important than other kinds of debt.

 The new scoring changes are expected to ease access to loans—Metairie and New Orleans mortgage loans included—without materially raising the risk exposure to lenders. But if history is any indicator, wholesale rejoicing may have to hold off for a while, because mortgage lenders can be slow to adopt changes in credit scoring. Nevertheless, if you are soon to start looking for a new Metairie or New Orleans home, I’d recommend checking your current credit report to be sure all is accurate. Then call me!

View Homes For Sale in New Orleans


Terez B. Harris
Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group
(504)297-2619
www.TerezHarris.com
TerezHarris@kw.com


Search the MLS! 
(multiple listing service)


Search Terez's Active Listings!







      








Terez B. Harris   Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group   504-297-2619   www.TerezHarris.com
Keller Williams Realty New Orleans 8601 Leake Ave. New Orleans, LA 70118 504-862-0100
Each office independently owned and operated. All brokers and agents licensed in the state of Louisiana.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Jefferson Parish Mortgage Assistance

Terez B. Harris spreads awareness of available Mortgage Assistance through Jefferson Parish.

There is Mortgage Assistance available in Jefferson Parish!

  • You DO NOT need to be a First Time Home Buyer!

  • 3% and 4% Assistance based on Current Market Rate.

  • Income Limits: $69,345

  • Purchase Price Limits: $287,500

  • 3% and 4% Assistance can be applied towards Down Payment, Closing Costs, and/or pre-paids.

  • Property must be in the Parish of Jefferson.

  • Loan must be FHA or VA.

  • Property must be Single Family Residence.

  • Credit Score must be 640 or above.

  • Assistance is Grant and DOES NOT need to be Repaid.

  • Must occupy property within 60 days of the closing.


CALL ME FOR MORE INFORMATION! 504-296-2619



View Homes For Sale in New Orleans


Terez B. Harris
Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group
(504)297-2619
www.TerezHarris.com
TerezHarris@kw.com


Search the MLS! 
(multiple listing service)


Search Terez's Active Listings!







      








Terez B. Harris   Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group   504-297-2619   www.TerezHarris.com
Keller Williams Realty New Orleans 8601 Leake Ave. New Orleans, LA 70118 504-862-0100
Each office independently owned and operated. All brokers and agents licensed in the state of Louisiana.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Metairie and New Orleans Property Type Wording Shapes Buyer Expectations

If you are preparing to sell your property in Metairie and New Orleans this fall, it’s worth considering what the marketing angle will be: how to characterize it most accurately—and appealingly. It starts with the choice of wording for your home’s property type, which will set up prospective buyers’ expectations before they come upon the more detailed description.  
Cottage or Bungalow This property description instantly conjures up images of a small, cozy, picturesque Metairie and New Orleans property. Buyers attracted to a cottage are likely to appreciate features that indicate economy and efficiency. The marketing message can emphasize practicality and the charms of a compact, tidy, easily maintained living space.
Penthouse This type of condo or co-op once indicated position on the upper floor of a tall building, usually set back from the outer walls—but today, any top floor unit can be considered a penthouse. Buyers attracted to penthouse living are luxury-minded: in the market for the best of the best. Marketing materials should emphasize luxury additions and upscale neighborhood features: everything that sets the property above the crowd. If your penthouse has a great view, it might be appropriate to consider hosting a twilight open house (cocktails optional!).
Condo Condos can be smaller and less expensive than single-family homes, though depending on location, finish and amenities, today that’s not always the case. With the lion’s share of maintenance taken care of by the monthly condo fees, this type of property can be marketed to appeal to first-time buyers; to homeowners who are downsizing; to those with multiple residences; or to anyone who’s simply had it with yard work! One of the main advantages of condo living is also its strongest selling point: convenience. 
Cabin A property in town that fits the “cabin” description should be in large part rustic and suited to relaxed, informal living. Its marketing can be geared to buyers looking for a Metairie or New Orleans property without many of the bells and whistles expected in other kinds of single family dwellings. A cabin can actually have luxurious features–if so, the key will be presenting them without overplaying the home’s true atmosphere. 
Townhome A typical Metairie or New Orleans townhome incorporates more square footage of living space than does a condo. It tends to appeal to budget-conscious prospects who desire for independence falls midway between single family dwelling and condo. Townhomes can really appeal to a wide variety of buyers in different life stages, so a more neutral lifestyle message is usually appropriate…townhomes can be just as attractive to a single empty nester as to a newly married couple expecting their first baby.
Estate All by itself, the word “estate” summonses mental images of the Gilded Age—or Jay Gatsby’s layout. While not every estate looks like the late John Denver’s $10.75 million spread (it just listed in Aspen this month), Metairie and New Orleans does have its share of luxury listings. If you will be marketing your Metairie and New Orleans property as an estate, do plan to wow your buyers—they’re likely to expect it. Staging, well-designed high-end marketing, catered open houses and discreet private showings can all be part of a successful estate marketing campaign.

Whether your home falls into one of these categories or not, my job as your agent is to figure out how to most attractively market and pitch the property. If you’re looking for an agent to devise the plan that sells your Metairie and New Orleans property for top dollar, contact me today for a complimentary consultation.





Terez B. Harris
Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group
(504)297-2619
www.TerezHarris.com
TerezHarris@kw.com


Search the MLS! 
(multiple listing service)


Search Terez's Active Listings!







      








Terez B. Harris   Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group   504-297-2619   www.TerezHarris.com
Keller Williams Realty New Orleans 8601 Leake Ave. New Orleans, LA 70118 504-862-0100
Each office independently owned and operated. All brokers and agents licensed in the state of Louisiana.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Metairie and New Orleans Rental Owners Take Advantage of Tax Benefits

As a homeowner in Metairie or New Orleans, you are pleasantly reminded each April 15th that the interest portion of your mortgage payments is 100% tax deductible. When you own Metairie or New Orleans rental property, though, the tax implications are considerably different. You need to report rental payments you receive from your tenants as income—but you’ll also be able to write off some related expenses, as well.
Each of the more than 22 million landlords in the United States are subject to the same rules and regulations. If you’ve recently become one of them (or will soon join their ranks), here is a quick look at the kinds of items you will want to track to take full advantage of the tax benefits:
  •       Almost everything you do to improve, fix, or maintain your rental is a potential tax deduction, so you’ll want to save all receipts and documentation. It’s easiest to set up a file, folder, or box at the beginning of each year—and keep it handy. If you don’t, it’s all too easy to let some money-saving deductions slip past.

  •        If you plan to manage your Metairie or New Orleans rental yourself, it’s helpful to use one of the popular computer financial programs to keep track of receipts. The reporting features in these software packages make tax preparation a lot easier—and lessen the likelihood of mistakes in your income reporting. If you’ve hired a property management firm, no need to worry about this detail: they will handle the tracking. 

  •       If your Metairie or New Orleans rental has a mortgage, the interest portion of the payments will generally be deductible. One exception: if you refinance for an amount greater than that which was previously owed, the excess is not considered a rental expense.

  •       How you use your Metairie or New Orleans rental is a major factor determining its tax treatment, so it will be advantageous for you to acquaint yourself with the rules right off the bat. An early discussion with your tax consultant will clarify the choices. While a reliable property management company will do the lions’ share of the record keeping, at least until you have experienced a year or two of filing as a landlord, it’s wise to have an accountant prepare your returns.

If you are thinking taking advantage of the benefits of becoming a landlord, I hope you’ll call me today to have a look at the current opportunities. Right now a number of outstanding Metairie and New Orleans rental properties are available!




View Homes For Sale in New Orleans


Terez B. Harris
Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group
(504)297-2619
www.TerezHarris.com
TerezHarris@kw.com


Search the MLS! 
(multiple listing service)


Search Terez's Active Listings!







      








Terez B. Harris   Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group   504-297-2619   www.TerezHarris.com
Keller Williams Realty New Orleans 8601 Leake Ave. New Orleans, LA 70118 504-862-0100
Each office independently owned and operated. All brokers and agents licensed in the state of Louisiana.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Digging for the True Cost of a New Metairie or New Orleans Home

When you begin scouring the Metairie or New Orleans listings for a new home, the cost of the home appears to be right there at the top: the asking price. All the other details about the property are there, too, but they usually get close attention only after that dollar amount at the top falls within (well, is at least close to) your target number.
But as soon as the shopping starts to narrow the field, the financial implications of those other details begin to reveal themselves. Good thing! In fact, the true bottom line cost of your new Metairie or New Orleans home will be greatly affected by them.
Many buyers work with the details exactly as presented—but as a purchase grows more likely, they should consider them simply as starting points. Back when home prices were racing steadily upward, it may have been okay to assume that price appreciation would make up for any exaggerations or oversights about the property (whether inadvertent or not), but today’s more cautious buyers appreciate how the disclosures impact the real cost of a property. They know how expensive it can be to correct inaccuracies later on.
When comparing properties, it’s time well spent to confirm as much of the information as practical. It will give you confidence that you aren’t missing potential expenses or devaluing factors when figuring the cost of a home versus its true value. Some relevant factors:
  • ·         Even when there are laws requiring sellers to disclose obvious repairs, those that are less obvious can come as a surprise after the keys are handed over. Some may not even be known to the seller; for example, mold in walls caused from earlier flooding may not be visible, or termites that are just starting to colonize the structure might not be obvious. That’s why consulting with a home inspector is so important. The best ones know the places to look for the telltale signs it takes an expert to uncover.
  • ·         If the property you are considering belongs to a homeowner’s association or is subject to any kind of maintenance fees, be sure to factor in those costs. Ask for copies of receipts for the last few payments—then find out what plans have been announced that might mean future increases. 
  • ·         Metairie and New Orleans property taxes will obviously figure in your home cost calculations, but it’s good to know the basis upon which the property is taxed. Unrecorded improvements could raise that figure: so have a look at the recent bills. If you have questions, a check with the assessor’s office should settle them.
  • ·         Don’t just have a chat about the cost of utilities—you should request copies of the utility bills for at least the last full year. Water and power (and sometimes sewer and other utility expenses) can be more substantial than you’d expect, significantly increasing the cost of your Metairie or New Orleans home’s annual operation.

These factors all play parts in determining the true cost of a home in Metairie or New Orleans—its current purchase price and a sound projection of the cost of living in it. Accurate estimates of both are what you need to guide your decision about whether to make an offer—and what that offer should be.
If you are thinking of buying in Metairie or New Orleans this summer or fall, do contact me today. I’ll help you to be sure the right questions are asked!



View Homes For Sale in New Orleans


Terez B. Harris
Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group
(504)297-2619
www.TerezHarris.com
TerezHarris@kw.com


Search the MLS! 
(multiple listing service)


Search Terez's Active Listings!







      








Terez B. Harris   Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group   504-297-2619   www.TerezHarris.com
Keller Williams Realty New Orleans 8601 Leake Ave. New Orleans, LA 70118 504-862-0100
Each office independently owned and operated. All brokers and agents licensed in the state of Louisiana.

Friday, August 8, 2014

1720 Old Metairie St. - What Our Sellers Say

1720 Old Metairie St.
Metairie, LA 70001
$249,000

Beautiful town home living! Quaint neighborhood in Old Metairie with easy access to down town and Metairie. Totally renovated kitchen and bathrooms. Hardwood flooring throughout the downstairs area. Over sized master bedroom with plenty of closet space. Flood insurance not an issue hear, only$567 annually with full coverage! Off street parking with attached garage. Enjoy the beautiful oak trees in the neighborhood!

or
Call Terez B. Harris at (504)297-2619




 What originally attracted the owners to this home was the desirable location and easy maintenance.




The owner's favorite aspects of the home are the hardwood floors and high ceilings on the first floor. They have spent a lot of time in the living room with the family.




While in the home, the owner made several improvements including redoing the roof, installing new leaf-guard gutters, and remodeling the master bathroom.




Even though they are happy to start a new chapter, the owners will miss the easy maintenance, since they will be moving to a larger home with more land. 




They will also miss the quiet and friendly location. They have felt very safe in this neighborhood. They love the perfectly placed tree in their front yard, that provides shade to driveway. 


or
Call Terez B. Harris at (504)297-2619




Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group
(504)297-2619
www.TerezHarris.com
TerezHarris@kw.com


Search the MLS! 
(multiple listing service)


Search Terez's Active Listings!







      








Keller Williams Realty New Orleans 8601 Leake Ave. New Orleans, LA 70118 504-862-0100

Each office independently owned and operated. All brokers licensed in the state of Louisiana.