Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mortgage Market Update

The U.S. economy expanded in the fourth quarter at the FASTEST pace in six years, indicating that the recovery may be strong enough to be weaned from government support.  Consumer spending rose at a 2 percent pace, more than the 1.8% that economists had expected.  Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke was confirmed for a second four year term by the Senate.  The Reuters/University of Michigan final index of Consumer sentiment rose to 74.4 from December’s 72.5.  Now that the economy is showing signs of a recovery, whether it is sustainable or not remains to be seen, it is inevitably going to cause interest rates to climb in 2010. (information provided by: Jim Van Slyck Home Mortgage Consultant Thoroughbred Mortgage, LLC An Affiliate of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage contact Jim at

Please contact Stacee @ or 914.806.6981 for help with all your Real Estate needs.

Posted via email from Stacee's Real Estate News

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mortgage Market Update

Mortgage Market Update

On Thursday, President Obama announced that he was planning on getting more involved in the financial markets, this time with a proposal to limit the size of banks and their risk taking/profit making strategies.  While details have yet to be provided, the stock market did not react well to this news.  Bank stocks sold off rapidly as market participants scrambled to make sense of the regulatory proposal. This event turned out to be very supportive of interest rates.  We saw a “flight to quality” in the bond market. (information provided by: Jim Van Slyck Home Mortgage Consultant Thoroughbred Mortgage, LLC An Affiliate of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage contact Jim at

Please contact Stacee @ or 914.806.6981 for help with all your Real Estate needs.

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The Benefits & Requirements of Executing a Short Sale

Reprint from NEW YORK REAL ESTATE JOURNAL, August/September 2008

The benefits and unique requirements of executing a short sale in today's real estate market.

The real estate industry in general throughout the U.S. is facing difficult and challenging financial situations. Because of the fact that many American homeowners are unable to afford the mortgages they entered into at the time they purchased their homes, those homeowners are now facing foreclosure actions brought by the lender. Generally speaking, a foreclosure action is brought by the lender if the owner/mortgagor is currently in default under the terms of that mortgage; which generally means that they have not made a mortgage payment in at least the last three months. Once the lender serves and files the foreclosure action, the homeowner has few options at that juncture. One obvious option the homeowner has after the foreclosure action is filed is to list the home with a real estate broker and sell the property. This option will be successful if the home is priced intelligently in light of the local real estate market conditions, and the existing debt on the property does not exceed the anticipated listing/selling price of the home. This factor, however, is the biggest stumbling block for homeowners facing foreclosure, because the reality is that there are many homeowners whose debt in the property is equal to or exceeds the anticipated selling price of the property. As a result of this factual reality, the short sale was born. A short sale occurs when a bank or mortgage lender agrees to discount a loan balance due to an economic or financial hardship on the part of the mortgagor.

The first step to effectuate a short sale is the borrower or their attorney must contact the lender's loss mitigation department. At the outset, that department will require some or all of the following information from the borrower before any consideration is given to the merits of the short sale: a copy of the fully executed contract of sale, a hardship letter from the borrower, an authorization by the borrower to allow a third party to negotiate the short sale on the borrowers behalf, a proposed HUD-1 settlement statement which shows all of the projected closing costs of the seller, including real estate commissions, legal fees and moving expenses, a copy of several years of local and federal income tax returns, bank account statements with evidence of any other assets and a comparative market analysis usually prepared by the listing broker.

Most lenders will consider a short sale even if the mortgagor is not in default, because one of the most important factors lenders employ to analyze a short sale is the hardship(s) the borrowers are facing. Hardships include the loss of a stream of income, a serious and debilitating illness, divorce or any other circumstance that may persuade the lender of the gravity of the mortgagors' financial situation which contributed to their inability to continue to pay the loan on a timely basis.

Keep in mind that lenders are inclined to negotiate with a borrower who truly has suffered a documented hardship. The reason for that is because it is cheaper in the long run for the lender to negotiate a short sale with the borrower when they compare the costs of a completed mortgage foreclosure action. In addition, the lender does not want to own the property, because that ownership will inevitably cost the lender more money in addition to the legal fees, insurance and taxes it already paid during the pendency of the foreclosure action before the property is finally sold. Also, from the lender's point of view, a short sale is more advantageous than a deed in lieu of foreclosure because that type of transaction still makes the lender the owner of the property which they would prefer to avoid. However, that method is less costly to the lender when compared to the costs of a foreclosure action. Lastly, it is not advantageous for the lender to run the risk of a bankruptcy by the borrower because that will stay a foreclosure proceeding until the conclusion of the action, and as a result, the foreclosure delay results in the lender's expenditure of money it would rather not disburse.

If the lender does agree to discount the amount the mortgagor owes, the lender will typically forgive that amount of the debt over and above the contractual purchase price of the current transaction, and will also reduce the amount it will accept at the closing to include payment to the real estate brokers, (usually less than the seller originally contracted to pay), payment for legal fees to seller's counsel as well as an allowance for the seller's moving expenses. The lender does have established guidelines it follows for the approval of a short sale, and may not be inclined to approve a short sale if the difference between the value of the property and the outstanding mortgage debt on the property is over $100,000. If the borrower is successful and the lender does approve the short sale, please check with your tax advisor to determine whether the debt that the lender has forgiven could be considered taxable income to the borrower/mortgagor. Additionally, a short sale typically does not adversely affect the borrower's credit rating unless that borrower had a history of slow or non-payment of the monthly mortgage payment and/or the credit agency reported the fact that a foreclosure action was begun against the borrower.

In closing, bear in mind that a short sale can be successfully negotiated with the lender and that alternative may be the only way for a borrower in default to sell the home without facing foreclosure, bankruptcy or damage to their credit rating.

Please contact Stacee @ or 914.806.6981 for help with all your Real Estate needs.

Posted via email from Stacee's Real Estate News

Friday, January 22, 2010

Where Are Mortgage Rates Headed?

Clearly, inflation is tame at the moment...but slowly trending higher. The Fed will be watching this data very carefully in the coming months, as they seek to time perfectly the exit from what is essentially a zero rate environment. The Fed will likely err on the side of keeping the Fed Funds Rate lower for longer than they perhaps should, in order to avoid a "double dip" recession...but that will likely lead to more inflation down the road. Remember, Bonds and home loan rates hate inflation - so home loan rates are likely to trend higher as more inflation creeps into the economy.

Speaking of the Fed, they stepped up their Mortgage Backed Security (MBS) buying in the latest week, purchasing $14B in MBS, whereas the most recent prior purchases were around $9.5B. The Fed now has $113B left of their $1.25T allotted commitment, with the buying program set to wrap up on March 31st. The Fed's purchases have helped home loan rates stay historically low - and although there has been some buzz about an extension of the program, it seems unlikely that will come to fruition. When the Fed purchases stop, home loan rates will be very susceptible to moving higher.

The next Federal Reserve Policy Statement will be coming on January 27th, and they have gone out of their way to mention in the last several statements that the MBS buying program will not continue. Listen closely to this Statement, as this will help further gauge what home loan rates have in store.

Please contact Stacee @ or 914.806.6981 for help with all your Real Estate needs.

The material contained in this newsletter is provided by a third party to real estate, financial services and other professionals only for their use and the use of their clients. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness and as a result, there is no guarantee it is not without errors.(information provided by: Jim Van Slyck Home Mortgage Consultant Thoroughbred Mortgage, LLC An Affiliate of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage contact Jim at

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winter Time In Armonk - So Much To Do!

It's cold outside and there's snow on the ground, but there's still plenty to do in Armonk.

Are you in the mood to get something to eat? There are plenty of places in Armonk, including Gavi, Fernando's Pizzeria, Tazza, Cafe Norma, David Chen, Made in Asia, Kira Sushi/Kira East, Shanghai Moon, Mariachi's Mexican, Bagel Emporium, Marc Charles Steakhouse, La Mer Seafood, Amore Pizzeria, Perfect Endings Bakery and Beascakes Bakery.

There are classes for adults and children in The Towns Parks and Rec Department: music, art, cooking, sports and more. If you've got an idea for a class that doesn't exists, inquiry about starting one.


Bobcats' winter sports season is in full swing. Girls' Varsity basketball rule with a 10 - 1 record! Go Bobcats! For outdoor paddle tennis available year round with night lighting, check with the Town's Parks and Recreation Department.

There's seasonal courts and junior development tennis programs at Armonk Tennis. Armonk Indoor Sports Center has tennis, soccer, lacrosse and fitness. There is also Armonk Martial Arts with the expertise of Sensei Claudio Baldo. Great Indoor Fun and Sports is a great way for our kids ages 2 -15 to keep active all year round. Byram Hills Youth Lacrosse is beginning for grades 1 - 6.

Byram Hills Ski Team is competing at Thunder Ridge Ski Resort in Patterson, NY, only 35 minutes from Armonk. Did you know that during the 1960's, Armonk had a short lived tiny ski slope called Dynamite Hill? It was located behind Town Hall on a hill that was cut through to lay the new Route 22 dividing the Town Hall and IBM property. A rope tow brought skiers to the top of a small hill. The rope was attached to the turning wheel axle of a truck that was up on blocks. There are many fond memories of that set up. If you hit the slopes yourself, Hickory & Tweed's got the gear to keep you warm and looking good.

Wampus Park on Route 128 is a must for outdoor skating and ice fishing. Just keep an eye out for the "Skating" sign posted by the County in the parking lot. Impromptu hockey games are known to be held there on Sunday mornings.

The nice thing about snow sledding is that it's wherever the hills are. We've talked to some private property owners that have asked us not to name the locations, but just ask around and you'll hear about Armonk's favorite sledding hills. Or consider carving a luge track in your own backyard, that is, if you're located on a hill. But warning: speeds are known to get pretty fast.

Don't forget you can always throw on a good pair of hiking boots, call a friend and walk the track at Town Park or the trails on Oregon Road or Betsy Sluder Preserve. Hiking trails are reviewed in's Outdoor Section.


Armonk has a variety of shops for women's clothing including Ruthie Z's, and TruGrace. Looking for Kids' clothing and accessories? Check out Star Spangled Carousel. The Right Thing has gifts and such and consigned goods are available at Treasures. Cocobolo has a vast selection of interior items for the home. And there's a great choice of eye wear at the Armonk Vision and Armonk Eye Design.

There's free WiFi service while having coffee at Tazza Cafe. There's wine tasting at Moderne Barn Wines & Spirits, wine classes at Wine Geeks, and a great selection at Armonk Wines & Spirts. Curl-up indoors with a good flick from VIP Photo and Video, tour the Armonk Fire Department.

There are plenty of ways to pamper yourself in Armonk. Did you know we have five nail salons in town? There are plenty of hair salons as well, Salon Bellezza is among them and conveniently located in Olive Branch Plaza next to LaGravinese Jewelers. Proprietor Debra LaGravinese is very personable and has a unique selection of jewelry.

Nearby Audubon Greenwich offers a variety of indoor/outdoor activities. There is a quilt show at the museum and continual lectures about nature, green building, the great outdoors and more.

Byram Hills' schools offer a variety of after school activities from dinner theatre, the district's art show and the Winter Family Festival at Coman Hill School.

Come visit Armonk, I would be happy to show you around. For more information contact me at 914.806.6981 or visit my website @

Stacee Massoni

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Market Conditions in Armonk

Median Sale Price - $966,500

Median Days on Market  - 128

Number of Properties on the Market - 164

% of Sales price to List price - 89.79%

(Information obtained from Houlihan Lawrence)

Contact me for more information about Armonk or if you would like to come see it.

Posted via email from Stacee's Real Estate News

The 411 on Armonk

The 411: Located just 35 miles north of New York City and just feet from pristine Greenwich, Connecticut, Armonk is home to prime real estate— even by Westchester standards. A hamlet within the town of North Castle, Armonk is famed for the techy-type (IBM’s global headquarters is located here). The small Westchester town has locality on its mind, with many independent shops and restaurants including Beginnings Bleus, Lillies and Lace, and Opus 465, located on Main Street. Armonk’s Wampus Pond is very scenic in the summertime and great for skating when it freezes over in the winter. Every October, Armonk hosts the Armonk Outdoor Art Show, at which 200 artists gather in IBM Park to showcase their creations.

Population: 3,461

Size: 6.1 square miles


% Adults with at Least a Bachelor’s Degree: 65

High School: Byram Hills

Elementary School: Coman Hill Elementary School and Wampus Elementary School

Grades/Type of Organization: K-5/By Grade Level
Average Class Size: 19
% Special Ed Students: 7
% of 4th-Graders  - Who Received 4 in  English/Math/Science: 32/49/60

(Information obtained from Westchester Magazine)

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Get To Know Armonk

Distance to NYC: 35 miles
Area: 26.5 square miles

 Armonk, a hamlet in the town of North Castle, is in the northeastern sector of Westchester county and is bordered by Connecticut to its east. It is approximately 35 miles from midtown Manhattan. Known for its wooded beauty and sparkling lakes, this hamlet has a friendly village center with gourmet shops and excellent restaurants. This very special hamlet still reflects its historical description as, "a place between two worlds." Rural in nature, yet sophisticated in style, Armonk offers itself as a bridge between city life and country living. Winding roads lined with old stone walls meander through densely wooded glades and climb to hilly retreats giving way to majestic views. This restful atmosphere completely belies its convenient location to all the major sources of corporate employment and transportation. Only 38 minutes from Manhattan via the Metro North train, I-684 also provides easy access to New York. Westchester Airport is 10 minutes away, international airports are within an hour's drive.

 Educational Facilities
A small, but special school district, Byram Hills offers a superior education for each child with an emphasis on high quality education and a rich curriculum. Among the priority goals at Byram Hills are individual needs, combined with a firm foundation in basic skills and staff development. Children from kindergarten through second grade attend Wampus Elementary, and grades three and four attend Coman Hill School. Fifth through eighth-graders attend Harold C. Crittenden Middle School, and Byram Hills High School serves grades nine through 12. This school district has been awarded the national "School of Excellence" designation from the U.S. Department of Education.

 Recreational Facilities
A variety of local recreation is available, from wildlife sanctuaries for nature walks, to golf and tennis clubs. Armonk currently enjoys the use of seven town parks and playfields. The recreation department of the Town of North Castle offers year round diversified activities for both children and adults. There are three summer day camps and an active Recreation Adult Club. The perfect site for outdoor entertainment is the Wampus Brook Park. Situated on 39 acres with a stock pond for "resident fishermen" under the age of 16, it also has a playground and a picturesque gazebo bandstand. The "Fol-de-Rol", a popular arts fair, is an annual event of total community involvement, sponsored by the Lions Club.

 Houses of Worship
Armonk Methodist Church, St. Stephens Episcopal Church, St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church. B'Nai Ysrael and The Hillside Church.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tax Credit for Homebuyers - 2010 Update

First-Time Homebuyers

(FTHBs): First-time homebuyers (that is, people who have not owned a home within the last three years) may be eligible for the tax credit. The credit for FTHBs is 10% of the purchase price of the home, with a maximum available credit of $8,000. Single taxpayers and married couples filing a joint return may qualify for the full tax credit amount. Current Owners: The tax credit program now gives those who already own a residence some additional reasons to move to a new home. This incentive comes in the form of a tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified purchasers who have owned and occupied a primary residence for a period of five consecutive years during the last eight years. Single taxpayers and married couples filing a joint return may qualify for the full tax credit amount.

What are the New Deadlines?

In order to qualify for the credit, all contracts need to be in effect no later than April 30, 2010 and close no later than June 30, 2010.

Tax Credit Versus Tax Deduction

It’s important to remember that the tax credit is just that… a tax credit. The benefit of a tax credit is that it’s a dollar-for-dollar tax reduction, rather than a reduction in a tax liability that would only save you $1,000 to $1,500 when all was said and done. So, if a first-time homebuyer were to owe $8,000 in income taxes and would qualify for a tax credit of $8,000, he/she would owe nothing. Better still, the tax credit is refundable, which means the homebuyer can receive a check for the credit if he or she has little income tax liability. For example, if a first-time homebuyer is eligible for a tax credit of $8,000 but is liable for $4,000 in income tax, he/she can still receive a check for the remaining $4,000!

Higher Income Caps

The amount of income someone can earn and qualify for the full amount of the credit has been increased. Single tax filers who earn up to $125,000 are eligible for the total credit amount. Those who earn more than this cap can receive a partial credit. However, single filers who earn $145,000 and above are ineligible. Joint filers who earn up to $225,000 are eligible for the total credit amount. Those who earn more than this cap can receive a partial credit. However, joint filers who earn $245,000 and above are ineligible.

Maximum Purchase Price

Qualifying buyers may purchase a property with a maximum sale price of $800,000.
(information provided by: Jim Van Slyck Home Mortgage Consultant Thoroughbred Mortgage, LLC An Affiliate of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage contact Jim at
Remember, the new tax credit program includes a number of details and qualifications. For more information or answers to specific questions, please email me today. )

Stacee Massoni

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Mortgage Market Update !

We have seen an increase of .375% in Mortgage Rates over the last three weeks. The recent rise in mortgage rates is a prelude to even bigger increases in the coming months as the Federal Reserve steps away from supporting the market. The Federal Reserves’ pledge to stop buying mortgages by the end of March is sparking concerns among home builders, mortgage investors and even some Fed officials that mortgage rates in excess of 6% could derail the fragile economic recovery.

We are recommending that if you are looking for a new home, or thinking of refinancing your existing mortgage, that you lock your mortgage rates at the current levels as there will be a significant increase in the upcoming months.

(information provided by: Jim Van Slyck Home Mortgage Consultant Thoroughbred Mortgage, LLC An Affiliate of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage contact Jim at

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