Federal financing guidelines changing in just a few months

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By Steve Levine

Back in 2006, I was doing an interview with a reporter at a local paper, who wanted to do a story on the soaring prices and home shortages. I wanted to talk about the risky mortgages being done that were going to ultimately cause a collapse – but they seemingly already had the story written and were just looking for quotes to support their position that prices were heading to the stratosphere. Now, in mid 2011, the situation is just the opposite. I have reporters who want to write doom and gloom stories about the housing market continuing to nosedive, and yet I's seeing multiple offers, inventory shortages, and buyers who are waiting on the sidelines for decent listings to come on. Again, the reporters aren's interested in that story at all – seemingly because the pundits have their viewpoint – and anything contrary to it just doesn's fit the bill.

Well, surprisingly enough, and way, way under the radar screen, the real estate market has strengthened dramatically over the last few months, in certain very specific pockets of homes. Suddenly, we'se seeing actual inventory shortages of very specific properties that fall into two groups. First, are the younger, “cream-puff” homes that have been maintained in mint condition, on nice lots, in great locations and priced from 400-600K. The second are the smaller, first-time-buyer homes, again in crisp clean condition, regardless of age, and priced competitively. Just in the last few weeks alone, I'se been in several multiple offer situations, in everything from simple 3BR split entries, to homes over well into the higher ranges.

One important thing for buyers and sellers to watch out for is the upcoming change in federal loan guidelines, which is looming out there on Oct. 1. On that date, the emergency banking bill which provided for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to underwrite loans up into the 700,000 range will expire, and maximum loan amounts will drop back into the 400s in most markets. This will have a huge impact in the ability of buyers in all ranges to get financing, so time is critical for those thinking of making a move in the near future.

Is now the time for you? Well, to those who have the strength of will to boldly go where so many have gone before, the long term rewards could make it a once in a lifetime chance to get into the real estate market before things head back to the stratospheric 2005 numbers. How many of us looked around at the values then and said to themselves “boy if I could ever get that home for under 400k, I's move on it in a second.” Well, here's that chance…but it's slipping by quickly and those who fail to act now, will undoubtedly be kicking themselves later wishing they had.

Most important, if you'se even remotely thinking of making a move, give me a call or drop me an email, as I likely have buyers waiting just for you already.

Steve Levine is the President of Steve Levine Inc., and an agent for REMAX First Choice. He has been ranked as the Top REMAX Agent in New England and is the recipient of the REMAX Community Service Award, and Massachusetts Association of Realtors Good Neighbor Award. He can be reached at 508-735-4663 or [email protected].

(This article was published in the Community Advocate as a paid advertisement.)