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So You're Thinking of Buying a Home in Boston?

home buyer slidesYou've never done this before, and it can be, well...kind of intimidating. I'm sure you've had your doubts, questions, concerns... it can be really quite overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be!!

You've been pondering this, discussing it with friends and family, but want more information on the market and what actually happens during your first home buying, but you're not quite sure where to get the answers? We at Charlesgate Realty Group can you help you!

We've been hosting a Boston Home Buyer Class for a few years now. It's free. And we discuss things such as:

    •    Renting vs. Buying: Whether it even makes sense for you to buy right now
    •    Homebuying process and timeline: How long it actually takes to buy
    •    Working with an agent: How it works and whether or not you really need one
    •    What mortgages are still available and how much cash you need to buy
    •    Using neighborhood level data (like discount ratios and real time trend graphs) to value properties
    •    Negotiating 101: How to craft your offer to drive a hard bargain!
    •    Top 10 online resources to aid your home search

It's very low key, we offer food and drinks before and afterward and it's a great way to learn about the Boston real estate market, ask questions that you may have regarding the process. In fact, our buyer agents stick around to answer any other questions you may have that we may not have hit upon during the class. The class is at 6pm on Tuesday September 20.

Click here to get more information and to register. We hope to see you there!

Congress extends Fannie and Freddie conforming loan limits for Boston thru 2010

On October 29, 2009, the House and Senate passed legislation to extend the current conforming loan limits for FHA and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the government sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, that back much of the mortgage market in the U.S.) through December 31, 2010.  These loan limits, set at 125% of local area median home price and capped at $729,750, would have expired on December 31, 2009 in which case loan limits would have been reduced in many markets.

It's certainly welcome news for high cost areas like us here in Boston. 

Recession...what recession? Back Bay parking space sells for $300K


Gotta love disposable income (in the middle of a recession)....Do I even need to write more?

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How will the Fed injection of $1 Trillion into the economy affect real estate


After Fed Chairman Bernanke's appeareance on 60 minutes Sunday night to try to instill some confidence in the economy by "talking directly to the American public", he is now backing up his words with more action.


Will the recession end in 2009? Fed Chairman Bernanke thinks so...


Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, gave an unprecedented interview that aired on 60 Minutes last night.  Fed Chairmen very, very rarely grant interviews, so it made for interesting watching.  Clearly the objectives of the interview were for Bernanke to remove some of the secrecy of the Fed by explaining their decisions a bit and to instill some confidence in the economy at a low point.  I think he succeeded in both.


Jon Stewart vs Jim Cramer - A Daily Show Smackdown


In case you missed the much hyped Daily Show appearance by Jim Cramer, here you go!  This is great TV!  Jon Stewart savaged a cowering Jim Cramer last night on the Daily Show in an extensive interview (aka interrogation) about the financial meltdown and CNBC's role as a cheerleader for the banking industry.  If you haven't seen it yet, I embedded the videos from the interview below, as well as Cramer's response on MSNBC this morning just to be fair.  Watch for yourself!

So who's really to blame for the financial meltdown? Is it the big banks making bad bets?  Or is it the mortgage borrowers who bought more house than they could afford?  Jon Stewart (and much of the "left") falls on the side of greedy banks taking advantage of borrowers and using highly leveraged bets that fell apart as the culprit.  The "right", on the other hand, has been placing much of the blame on irresponsible borrowers who took out loans they could not possibly afford.

As I have written here before, I am really sick and tired of this idealogical "left" vs. "right" nonsense.  I think, as it usually does, the truth falls somewhere in the middle.  We are all to blame for this mess.  We were living in a self perpetuating economic bubble built on debt to grow just about every industry, not just the housing market or financial market.  People and companies became way too over-leveraged.  The good times were rolling as prices kept growing.  So it was easy to want to jump in and follow the crowd.  Yes, people made terrible financial decisions.  Yes, banks made horribly risky bets with new fangled financial instruments.  And nobody knew enough or tried hard enough to stop it.  At this point, who cares.  Let's find a way out of the mess first with some real solutions, and worry about it later.  But I suppose that doesn't mean we can't watch a little classic TV in the meantime! (FYI: the Comedy Central servers must be getting hit pretty hard today so the videos may be a little slow to load, but should be fine once they get rolling).

How the Obama foreclosure prevention plan will work...


The NY Times had a fantastic article with these two great diagrams about Obama's new foreclosure prevention plan.  The top diagram shows how the plan may help "responsible homeowners" who are not necessarily at risk of default but may not have enough equity to refinance at the current low mortgage rates.  The second diagram shows how the plan will help lenders modify loans of "at risk" homeowners to prevent them from falling into foreclosure.

Obama unveils new $75 billion foreclosure prevention plan


President Obama presented his foreclosure prevention plan to the country from Mesa, Arizona yesterday.  Larger than expected, the plan has 3 main components (including a $75 billion loan modification initiative) that are expected to save 7 to 9 million homes from foreclosure, which Obama explained:

Major banks to halt foreclosures nationwide


Led by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a collection of major banks including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley, have all announced that they will halt foreclosure proceedings temporarily while they await news of Obama's $50B plan to permanently ease the foreclosure problem.  Bloomberg reports in Banks to halt foreclosures for 3 weeks:

$8000 homebuyer tax credit to create demand; now what to reduce foreclosures?


UPDATE (NOV. 5, 2009): Read this for information about the newly extended and expanded $8,000 home buyer tax credit which is is open to more than first time homebuyers and extended to May 1, 2010.


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