Buying A Home In The Current Marin County Real Estate Market

Posted by Alex Narodny on Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 at 6:07am.

marin_ca_337We understand that buying a home is a huge decision and in this market it is important to know you are making the right financial decision. As in selling a home, hiring a seasoned professional who has lived through similar challenging markets and not just the recent one where an agent was more of “an order taker” is imperative. This market is serious and you need the right advice and guidance. Here are some statistics: The median price rose in Marin in June to almost $800k which is up from the month before and the average price has jumped to approximately $860,000. 207 homes sold in June which is 37 more than the month before but 20% less than the same time last year. Number of sales jumped by 16% but down from this time last year. Currently, there are 1537 homes on the market and 28% of those are in escrow. That is up 4% from a month ago. Sales in the higher end are also up. Of the 229 homes on the market over $2 million, 9% are in escrow which is up from the month before.

So what does all this mean for you the Marin County buyer? It means that buyers are taking their hands out of their pockets and buying homes in a county that is a highly desirable place to live and they know that this is a good investment decision. Sellers are becoming realistic about pricing knowing that the buyers establish value, not them. If you find a home you like and it is priced well compared to everything else that is comparable, put in an offer. A good agent can guide you in this process. You can search out the short sales and foreclosures and that is what a lot of buyers are doing. Just realize that this process can take months and there is no guarantee that you won’t get bumped by the lender. Again, use an agent who knows what they are doing.

Buyers beware that as of July 30th there will be new requirements by the lending institutions that will probably lengthen the borrowing and loan approval process. The following is recent information from the California Association of Realtors that outlines the changes:

New Lending Requirements

This new requirement is part of the Mortgage Disclosure Improvement Act (MDIA) implementing new loan procedures to protect borrowers and foster greater transparency in mortgage lending.  For loan applications submitted on or after July 30, 2009, the new MDIA changes to the Truth In Lending Act are generally as follows:

  • Applicability: The new MDIA rules pertain to federally-related mortgage loans covered under RESPA and secured by a consumer's dwelling.  The rules apply to both purchase and refinance loans.
    Early Disclosures: A lender must provide a borrower with an initial Good Faith Estimate within three business days of receiving the borrower's written loan application as specified.  For this provision, a "business day" is generally defined as a day on which the lender's offices are open for business.
  • Upfront Fees Restriction: Neither a lender nor any other person may impose an upfront fee on the borrower (except for credit report) until the borrower has received the early disclosures in person or, if mailed, three business days after the early disclosures are mailed.  For this rule, a "business day" is defined as all calendar days except Sundays and legal public holidays as specified.
  • Seven-Day Waiting Period: A lender must wait seven business days after providing the early disclosures before consummating the loan.  For purposes of this waiting period, a "business day" is defined as all calendar days except Sundays and federal legal holidays as specified.  A borrower may waive the waiting period in writing in case of personal financial emergency, such as an imminent foreclosure sale.
  • Re-disclosure Requirement: If the final Annual Percentage Rate (APR) at loan consummation varies more than 0.125% (or 1/8 of one percent) from the initial APR on the early disclosures of a regular transaction, the lender must provide the borrower with a corrected disclosure at least three business days before the loan is consummated.  For purposes of this waiting period, a "business day" is defined as all calendar days except Sundays and federal legal holidays as specified.
  • Three-Day Waiting Period: For corrected disclosures, a lender cannot consummate a loan until three business days after the the borrower receives the corrected disclosure in person.  If the corrected disclosure is mailed, the borrower is deemed to have received it three business days after it is placed in the mail.  A borrower may waive this waiting period in writing in case of a bona fide personal financial emergency, such as an imminent foreclosure sale.

Buyers, interest rates are low, there are some incredible buys out there, the restrictions are tightening and time is not on your side. Yes, you can wait as more foreclosures are dumped on the market and see if the market’s rock bottom is still ahead, but that is risky given everything that is going on.
For more information contact us.

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