Friday, November 11, 2011

Understanding Septic System Inspections


Daniel Brumsted of Environmental Testing Lab, Inc. in Annapolis, MD gives an explanation of what to expect when inspecting a septic system when buying a home. Homeowners are advised to have their septic tanks pumped every two years to ensure a properly operating system and to head off potential costly repairs. When buying always ask the seller for their septic system records.

Charles Kraus, Associate Broker – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage – Annapolis, MD – (443) 822-0700

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Selling Your Home – Inspection Concerns

When you are selling your home, one of the problems that can occur when the buyer has a home inspection performed, involves underground storage tanks. Occasionally, we run into an underground storage tank (UST) and sometimes they are used for gasoline, but most often they are used for heating oil.
Underground tanks are subject to moisture and rusting can lead to leaks due to failure of the integrity of the tank. Leaking gasoline and heating oil can contaminate ground water, so they are an environmental concern. Most states have regulations regarding these underground storage tanks, so check with your state and local jurisdiction to see what the regulations are for removal or abandonment.  According to Maryland’s Department of the Environment, they recommend tanks that are 25 years old or more be replaced with above ground tanks.
UST photoIf a property is found to have an underground storage tank one way of testing the tank’s integrity and its associated piping, is to have a professional contractor who specializes in UST’s to perform a pressure test to determine if the tank is leaking. Additionally, a soil test around the area of the tank may be performed to determine if there has been any contamination. If it has been disclosed to the buyer that the property has a UST, a potential buyer will have to make a personal decision based on the information at hand, to consider making the removal and replacement of the UST with an above ground tank a condition of the contract or excepting the existing buried oil tank. 
A careful inspection should be made to determine if an abandoned UST exists. Occasionally a situation occurs where sometime in the past, a UST will be replaced with an above ground tank or the HVAC system will be changed to an alternative fuel and in either case the old UST will be abandoned in place. Sometimes the current seller may not even be aware of this. These abandoned tanks can be problematic, especially if heating oil was left in the tank. Even if there is no oil in the tank, it may be advisable to remove the abandoned tank. Old tanks may be found to be abandoned in place by removing all oil and filling the tank with cement, sand or a slurry mixture. If in the time since abandonment took place the integrity of the tank failed and heating oil (or gasoline) has leaked into the soil, a regulated removal and environmental clean up will most likely be necessary. The clean up will often require removal of all contaminated soil from the site and disposal of the soil as required by the state and or local government.
We hope that this raises awareness of the problems that can occur when an underground storage tank exists. The information presented here is by no means the entirety of the subject or complete in scope and should be construed as a limited presentation involving USTs. Always consult with a professional in the field and also with your state and local government.
Note: The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate residential underground oil tanks.
Strategies For Selling Your Home

If you are selling your home and would like to learn more about other tips and concerns, the DVD Strategies for Selling Your Home is available online at ShowMeHowVideos.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

VA Funding Fees Going Up October 1st, 2011

VA Funding Fees for loans closed on or after October 1, 2011
           Postponed Until November 17, 2011.

                                                     
1st-time User Previous User
Down payment Guard/Reserve Veterans Guard/Reserve Veterans
Less Than 5% 1.40 1.65 2.80 2.80
5% Less Than 10% 0.75 1.00 0.75 1.00
10% or More Down 0.50 0.75 0.50 0.75
VA to VA Rate Reduction 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50
Cash Out Refinance* 1.40 1.65 2.80 2.80
VA Assumptions 0.50 0.50 0.50 0.50
  * includes Non_VA to VA Refinance           
Fee Schedule courtesy of Carolie Noyes, Mortgage Advisor, PHH/Coldwell Banker Home Loans (410) 533-6117    email Carolie at carolie.noyes@mortgagefamily.com

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baltimore Metro July 2011 Real Estate Statistics

The July 2011 real estate sales statistics have been released by MRIS and RBI. The Baltimore Metro area includes Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties and Baltimore city.

 Baltimore Metro July 2011 Sales Statistics

Statistic Volume Year over Year Month over Month
Total Sold Dollar $606,817,429 + 6.66% - 7.68%
Closed Sales Units 2,176 +12.45% - 8.11%
Median Sold Price $225,000 -10.00% - 4.46%
AVG Sold Price $278,868 - 5.15% +  .46%
AVG Days on Market 114 days +17.53% + 1.79%
AVG Sold to Orig List Price

88.58%

- 2.31% - 1.12%

Anne Arundel County July 2011 Sales Statistics

Statistic Volume Year over Year Month over Month
Total Sold Dollar $167,587,360 + 1.58% - 8.86%
Closed Sales Units 447 + 5.92% -17.07%
Median Sold Price $290,000 -12.09% +2.84%
AVG Sold Price $374,916 - 4.10% + 9.89%
AVG Days on Market 115 days + 9.52% + 2.68%
AVG Sold to Orig List Price 90.47% - 1.57% - 1.11%

Eastern Shore Metro July 2011 Sales Statistics – includes Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s & Talbot counties

Statistic Volume Year over Year Month over Month
Total Dollar Sold $53,097,088 –8.48% -17.62%
Closed Sales Units 200 + 3.63% -15.25%
Median Sold Price $192,500 -15.94% - 3.75%
AVG Sold Price $265,485 -11.69% - 2.79%
AVG Days on Market 166 days - 0.60% -18.63%
AVG Sold to Orig List Price 87.12% - 1.22% +3.84%

On average for the areas shown, Average Sold Price to Original List Price shows that properties are selling for 9.53% to 12.88% off the seller’s original list or asking price. Real estate is local and these statistics may not represent those in your area or subdivision. Contact us or your real estate agent to find our what the statistics are for you area or subdivision.

For more information, please contact - Charles Kraus, Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Annapolis, MD (O): (410) 919-2642

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Interest Rates Improve

As money flees Wall Street in search of a safe haven, bonds are a beneficiary and that means interest rates are improving for mortgages. Contact your lender today to see if improving rates may help your situation.

Charles Kraus, Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Annapolis, MD

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Anne Arundel County Real Estate Inventory by the Numbers

Here is an interesting look at the homes available for sale in Anne Arundel County shown in table format displaying the number of homes for sale by price range. These numbers were accumulated just before the 4th of July 2011 Holiday.

Price RangeNumber of Homes For Sale
under $99,99943*
$100,000 – 299,999418
$300,000 – 399,999606
$400,000 – 499,999445
$500,000 – 599,999293
$600,000 – 699,999203
$700,000 – 799,999145
$800,000 – 899,99992
$900,000 – 999,99972
$1,000,000 – 1,249,99972
$1,250,000 – 1,499,99967
$1,500,000 – 1,999,99963
$2,000,000 – 2,999,99952
$3,000,000 – 3,999,99918
4,000,000 – 5,999,9997
$6,000,000 + 4
 *Does not include mobile homes.

The average days on market for homes for sale according to the last available report of May 2011 for Anne Arundel County is 109 according to Real Estate Business Intelligence statistics. Also, the same report shows nine months of inventory available, which is calculated by dividing the number of homes available for sale by the number of homes sold in that month.
It is interesting to note that most expensive home for sale in Maryland according to the Metropolitan Regional Information System (MRIS) is located in Dorchester County and as of the date of this post, was listed for $30 Million Dollars. You can see it on HomesDataBase

Strategies For Selling your Home_2
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  Charles Kraus, Associate Broker – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage – Annapolis, MD (O) 410 919-2642

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Case-Shiller Report Shows Falling US Home Prices

Standard and Poor’s just released their Case-Shiller 1st quarter 2011 US housing price indices report, based on 20 of the nation’s largest markets and report that US housing prices have declined by 4.2% after having fallen by 3.6% in the 4th quarter of 2010. The National Index hit a new recession low with the first quarter’s data and posted an annual decline of 5.1%.

18 of the 20 markets showed declines while Washington, D.C. was the only city that showed both a modest monthly increase of 1.1% and an annual increase of 4.3%. Seattle, WA was the other city which showed a monthly increase of 0.1%, but was still down 7.5% on an annual basis. 

The report, which can be found HERE, also shows that nationally, home prices are back to mid 2002 levels. The report is sparking fear of a double-dip recession.

Closer to home, here are the results for April 2011:

Baltimore Metro Area
(Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard Counties and Baltimore City)

Average Sales Price +2.09% Year over Year; –7.31% Month over Month
Average Sold to List Price: 86.96% (example – Sold $260,880; List $300,000)

Eastern Shore of MD
(Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties)

Average Sale Price +6.15% Year over Year; –3.00% Month over Month
Average Sold to List Price: 85.48% (example – Sold $256,440; List $300,000)

Anne Arundel County +2.09% Year over Year; –7.31% Month over Month 
Average Sold to List Price: 89.33% (example – Sold $267,990; List $300,000)

Additionally, the National Association of Realtors reported in their Pending Homes Sales Index, that pending home sales for April 2011 are off by 26.5% year over year.

While these numbers indicate a fundamental weakness in the for the US housing market, be sure to check with your Realtor to discover the statistics for your local real estate market. Remember, real estate is local, right down to the zip code or subdivision sometimes. Averages on the national level may not reflect your local real estate market and statistics may be better or worse than the national average.

Charles Kraus, Associate Broker – office: 800 456-1996              
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage – Annapolis, MD 
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Remember: FHA Monthly MIP Going Up Again:

FHA will be raising the monthly MIP again on April 18th, 2011. Case numbers with ratified contracts before that date will fall under the old MIP. It is moving up .25% to 1.15%. The upfront amount of 1% is staying the same. Your contract ratification date has to be before or on the 17th, however Friday April 15th is the last day to obtain a case number for an FHA loan due to the weekend.
In addition, for many who have been fence sitting and rate watching, we believe the ship has sailed on lower rates. Economic news across the financial news spectrum all indicate that rates will continue to rise for the foreseeable future.
These are two great reasons to move forward if you have immediate home buying plans. As always, consult with your financial advisor before making any decisions.
Charles Kraus, GRI - Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Annapolis, MD  (O): (410) 919-2642

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Find Your Maryland Dream Home

j0432680 If you are looking for your dream home, start your search online HERE
j0432680 Price recently reduced to just $299,900 on this beautiful home in water privileged community. Close to Annapolis, MD, get all the details here – Home for Sale 
j0432680 Looking for a quiet eastern shore home? Look no further! Freshly painted and ready to move into, this St Michaels charmer will surely please –  Details Here
CKlogo CBlogo_350X100

Charles Kraus, GRI Associate Broker  -  Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage  -  Annapolis, MD
                   email: ck@mris.com  -  web: CharlesKraus  -  blog: TheBayHomes

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Find Your Maryland Dream Home


j0432680 If you are looking for your dream home, start your search online HERE

j0432680 Price recently reduced to just $299,900 on this beautiful home in water privileged community. Close to Annapolis, MD, get all the details here – Home for Sale 
j0432680 Looking for a quiet eastern shore home? Look no further! Freshly painted and ready to move into, this St Michaels charmer will surely please – Details Here

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Preparing for a Home Inspection

To prepare for a home inspection, it is always advisable for the seller to provide clear access to all of the following:

  • Attic(s)
  • Crawlspaces
  • Heat Systems
  • Garage Walls
  • Furnace
  • Electrical Panel
  • and all other areas that will need to be inspected.

If the house is vacant be sure all utilities are turned on such as:

  • Water
  • Electric
  • Water Heater
  • Furnace / Air Conditioning
  • Breakers in Electrical panels
  • Inform Seller that dishwasher will be run

Other times to inspect your home:

  • Have your home pre-inspected prior to selling to reduce the chance of last minute surprises and expenses.
  • You have maintenance performed routinely on your car. Why not perform a maintenance inspection on your house every 3 – 5 years? Keep ahead of maintenance problems and head off major expense by having a minor problem repaired before it becomes a major expense.
  • If you don’t have a relationship with a home inspector, contact your Realtor for referrals to local home inspectors.
j0400825Charles Kraus, Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Annapolis, MD
office: (410) 919-2642
direct: (443) 822-0700

Monday, February 7, 2011

Home Loan Rates – A Perspective

Average mortgage rates during 2006, 2007 and 2008, were respectively 6.41%, 6.35% and 6.04% with average points being around 0.5 for all years. Currently rates have begun to creep back up from historical lows of around 4.0% to currently around 5.0%.


For Sale logo So even though rates are higher than what they were just recently, they are still fairly low and have now approached the level last seen in 2009  when they averaged 5.05%. Keep in mind, rates fluctuate daily and are sensitive to external pressures and events. 

 

To put this into perspective, back in 2006 when rates averaged 6.41%, the interest cost of a monthly mortgage payment per thousand dollars borrowed was $6.26 and the cost during 2009 when rates averaged 5.05% was $5.40. The cost of a house varies depending on location in the United States, but assuming a mortgage of $200,000 on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage, the monthly payment per month based on these two rates differs by $172.00.


According to the Mortgage Bankers Association in their January 2011  Mortgage Finance Forecast, rates will continue to slowly rise through 2011 and 2012, to a forecast of 6.1 % in the 4th quarter of 2012. As we have demonstrated here, as rates rise, so does the cost of the monthly payment.


If this trend holds true, it may be a good idea to begin planning your housing purchase. It is always better to plan your purchase based on your individual needs rather than to do so in an effort to time the market for a lower rate. As always, consult with a professional financial advisor before making any decisions.


Charles Kraus, Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Annapolis, MD  Office: (410) 919-2642
email: ck@mris.com  web: Charles Kraus Online

Monday, January 31, 2011

Selling Your Home Faster. Sell It Homebuyer Ready!

In today’s changing market, you need a way to help your home stand out from all the rest. With the Coldwell Banker Homebuyer Ready program, you have an advantage. We’ll help you complete a home pre-inspection, title search and seller disclosure statement up front, so qualified buyers can see the solid value your home represents. Plus, buyers are given a home warranty that covers major systems and appliances for a year after closing. Ask Charles Kraus at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage how to get your home Homebuyer Ready. It’s the new fast track to closing!



Charles Kraus Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Annapolis, MD
(443) 822-0700         (O): (410) 919-2642         email: ck@mris.com

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another New Page and Blog Feature - MLS Search



Now Available On Our Blog on Its Own Page

HouseLogic

The National Association of Realtors (R) has just unveiled its new website "HouseLogic" a single source of relevant and timely articles and tools about every aspect of homeownership. We've included a new page on our blog where you can access HouseLogic whenever you visit us. Check it today and see the valuable resources available to you now!  

House Logic from The National Association of Realtors










Now Available on Our Blog On Its Own Page!