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More Help For Upsidedown Home Owners

by Don DeHanas, Associate Broker

You may have heard that President Obama plans to open up refinancing to more homeowners who are underwater. If you are wondering what this means...and if you can benefit...here are some facts to consider.

First, it's important to realize that the president's proposal is not a new program, but a revision to the current Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). However there is a big change: Now homeowners can refinance no matter how underwater they are! Before homeowners could only refinance if they were 25% or less underwater, and even then many banks only let people who were 5% or less underwater refinance.

Also, with the revision it's possible that an appraisal won't have to be performed, which is great news as this will save time and money. But this is only the case if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac can electronically estimate the value through their valuation models.

Keep in mind that these updates to HARP apply only to people whose mortgage is currently secured by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac...and whose loan was securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to May 31, 2009. So the chances are that people who have refinanced since May 2009 will not qualify to refinance under the HARP revision.

As of now, the revisions to HARP have been proposed by President Obama and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This directive has been given to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and they now have until November 15, 2011 to give Banks guidance and details regarding how these changes will be run.  Banks are expected to have plans in place and ready to refinance home mortgages by December 1, 2011.

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)

by Don DeHanas, Associate Broker

Maryland residents should be very excited about the many benefits expected in our great state due to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decisions of 2005.

The Department of Defense chooses the BRAC process when looking to restructure military operations throughout the country in order to make our nation’s military stronger and better able to respond to homeland security needs. Maryland is one such state that will be taking on more responsibility in this endeavor. For example, the headquarters of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) will be relocating from Virginia to Fort Meade, and Team C4ISR, which oversees several aspects of military communications and command, will be relocating from New Jersey to Aberdeen Proving Ground. These are just two of the many exciting military operations that will now call Maryland home.

So, what does this mean for Maryland residents?

Simply put, with a larger military presence, there will be civilian job growth in the security industry and services sector, with estimates of around 30,000 brand new jobs; there will be new career opportunities for Maryland’s young people, as some of our country’s most important operations are now closer to home; there will be an increase in the buying and selling of goods due to the increase in military personnel in the state; and there will be higher demand for Maryland real estate, as an estimated 28,000 military households are expected to relocate to Maryland.

These are all great things for Maryland!

Of course, with our low unemployment rate, reasonable cost of living, affordable housing, pride in our region’s history, and the natural beauty that abounds in our rivers, mountains, plateaus, and coastal ranges, there is a lot for our new neighbors to be happy about as well!

We Need Stronger Housing Policies

by National Assoication of Realtors

America needs strong housing policies that ensure a robust recovery and do not further weaken the nation’s housing market. That was one of several recommendations resulting from the bipartisan New Solutions for America’s Housing Crisis forum on October 4 and endorsed by the National Association of Realtors®.

The forum was hosted by the Progressive Policy Institute and Economic Policies for the 21st Century and brought together policy leaders, industry representatives, members of Congress, thought leaders and the media. In a letter sent today to Congress and President Obama, NAR outlined and urged support for the recommendations in a new five-point housing solutions plan to help reenergize housing markets and spur the economic recovery.

“As the nation’s leading advocate for homeownership and housing issues, NAR knows that the key to the nation’s economic strength is a robust housing industry,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “The nation is in need of immediate policy solutions to address the myriad challenges. Swift action from Congress and the administration is needed to stimulate housing and economic recovery.”

The five-point plan urges legislators and regulators to oppose proposals that could put the nation’s housing market recovery at risk. This includes revising the unnecessarily high down payment requirements of the proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage exemption; restoring higher mortgage loan limits supported by the Federal Housing Administration and the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs); and preserving home ownership tax benefits, including the mortgage interest deduction.

“Consumers continue to find it increasingly difficult to find affordable mortgage options. Proposing higher down payments and lowering conventional loan limits only strips home buyers of their savings and reduces the number of borrowers who are able to purchase a home,” said Phipps. “Now is also not the time to change the tax benefits that apply to homeownership, which would further undermine consumer confidence and depress home values.”

The plan recommends that lenders and the government take more aggressive steps to modify loans and approve short sales to help reduce high Foreclosure inventory levels and restore vitality to communities and neighborhoods. Realtors® are hopeful that reduced fees and improvements to refinancing programs will help more struggling homeowners reduce their monthly mortgage payments and avoid losing their home to foreclosure.

The plan also calls for changes to rehabilitation and investor financing programs, which will help private capital return to the mortgage markets and foster new demand among responsible homebuyers. This would also help reduce the high inventory of foreclosed homes and stabilize home prices.

In addition, the plan recommends that the federal government continue to play a role in the secondary mortgage market to support the use of long-term, fixed-rate mortgage products and ensure a continual flow of mortgage capital in all markets under all economic conditions. Phipps said that recent proposals calling for the full privatization of GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be rejected, because private firms will focus on generating revenue rather than on the best interests of consumers or the nation’s housing market, making homeownership unaffordable for many Americans.

Finally, the plan urges the White House to move housing to the front of the nation’s domestic agenda. Phipps said that a broad discussion among stakeholders could provide valuable recommendations and solutions to put housing and the economy on a path to recovery.

“A housing recovery is key to the country’s future economic strength. That is why Realtors® are proud to endorse these recommendations, which we believe will help housing return to a balanced, healthy state,” said Phipps.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Buying in Charles County, MD

by Don DeHanas, Associate Broker

Buying a home is a big and lasting decision, just as selling a home is often a large part of a new stage in life. So the agent you choose to help you with the buying or selling of your home should be one who understands who you are, where you are in your home-ownership journey, and what you really need at this juncture.

Any agent can show you listings in your area, because every agent has access to the listings in the MLS, or Multiple Listing Service. In fact, in today’s Internet age, listings have become searchable by everyone. But choosing exclusive representation with an agent or team of agents means they are invested in you and your specific needs and goals. By committing to a single broker, they are in turn more committed to you.

So, how do you know whom to trust when buying or selling your home? An agent worth your commitment demonstrates their salt with their superior knowledge of the area in which you are trying to buy or sell a property. This includes expertise concerning area schools, market trends, employment rates, the state of the local economy, and much more. Also important is an agent’s record of success even in these rough economic times. And speaking of experience, an experienced agent can help buyers spot potential problems, including structural problems, design flaws or contractual issues, that might otherwise go undetected.

If this sounds like too tall of an order, then look to DeHanas Real Estate Service for a “realty” check!

The team at DeHanas Real Estate Service is the best in the Washington D.C., Southern Maryland and Northern Virginia area, with over fifteen years of experience and national recognition, including a nod from Realtor Magazine, which named DeHanas one of the top 100 sales teams in the country.

Real estate in the Washington D.C., Southern Maryland and Northern Virginia area is varied, with properties ranging from rural to urban, large to small, and home prices ranging from $75,000 to the millions. It’s a lot of ground to cover, and whether you are buying or selling a home, you need to know that your agent knows this real estate better than anyone else. Choose DeHanas whether you are selling your house or looking for the perfect place to call home, and they will commit their knowledge and reputation to making your real estate desires a reality.

Blue Crabs Baseball

by Don DeHanas, Associate Broker

Taking their name from the official crustacean of Maryland, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs make their fans anything but crabby. Finishing the 2011 season strong, the Blue Crabs are looking forward to an even better season in 2012. The 2011 season saw the Blue Crabs compile a 65-57 record. Fans enjoyed watching standout players like Adam Goodwin, who batted .317 for sixth best in the league, and pitchers Nick Green and Steve Palazzolo who finished third and sixth respectively in wins. So plan on joining the Blue Crabs and their “snappy” mascot, Pinch, next spring for more all-American excitement.

It used to be that watching a ball game just meant sitting in the bleachers. But at the Regency Furniture Stadium—ranked the third best minor league stadium in the country by Livability.com—there are many ways to enjoy the game. In the Texas Roadhouse Corral you can enjoy a buffet picnic and be poised to catch a fly coming out of left field. Air-conditioned and private, the luxury suites at Regency Furniture Stadium make the phrase “take me out to the ball game,” an invitation to a great time. With your own personal suite attendant, you never have to miss a play in order to get your hands on the stadium’s famous crab cakes. Regency Furniture Stadium also has something no other stadium has: bumper boats in Crabby Cove, a great place to “chill” on those hot summer days at the ballpark.

The Blue Crabs provide more than just great baseball at an affordable price for the whole family; they are also deeply involved with charitable causes, benefiting groups like the American Red Cross and the Southern Maryland Food Bank. Recently, the Blue Crabs and their fans pulled together to donate a record amount of baseball equipment to a favorite cause, the Cardboard to Leather Project, which collects baseball gear and sends it to disadvantaged youth all over the country. Baseball has always been good for youngsters and the young-at-heart, but the Blue Crabs and their commitment to philanthropy make it good for the community.

So, whether you are looking for an all-American experience the whole family can enjoy, a way to bring coworkers together to unwind after a long week in the office, the perfect event for a memorable birthday party or wedding reception, or the perfect venue for your fundraiser (or fun-raiser as we like to call it) think of the Blue Crabs and the Regency Furniture Stadium first!

Society for the Friends of Hospice Oktoberfest

by Don DeHanas, Associate Broker

Considered one of the most popular events in Germany, Oktoberfest is sure to be a local sensation at the Charles County Fairgrounds! Beginning Saturday, October 22nd and wrapping up Sunday, the 23rd, this lively celebration of German heritage—which includes traditional German cuisine and beer, folks dressed in iconic lederhosen and dirndl fashion, traditional folk dances, and of course, the familiar oompah-pah of tubas—is a celebration that just can’t be missed. Exciting entertainment slated for the event includes live music by Sexton’s German Band, the Biggest Beer Belly Contest, a Keg Toss, and a puppet show.

Of course, Oktoberfest in Charles County is more than just a good time; it’s for a good cause too! All proceeds from the event will go to the Society for the Friends of Hospice, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that has been providing significant financial support for one of Charles County’s most important programs since 1986.

Hospice is an invaluable resource for people facing end-of-life circumstances brought on by cancer, heart disease, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, and other terminal conditions. The Society for the Friends of Hospice has been extremely instrumental in making sure that at their greatest time of need, Charles County patients have medications for the management of their pain, necessary equipment for their optimal comfort, as well as emotional and spiritual support that all too often can’t be found in other medical settings. Hospice provides support when people need it most, with the dignity they deserve. Without the help of the Society for the Friends of Hospice, Hospice of Charles County would not be able to serve as many people as it does, as well as it does.

But in order to maintain its continued support, the Society for the Friends of Hospice needs you! So, join us at the Charles County Fairgrounds, October 22nd and 23rd, for a fun-filled weekend of music, food, children’s crafts and games, and much more, and know that your enjoyment is also benefiting a great cause.

The Charles County Fairgrounds are located at 8440 Fairgrounds Road, in La Plata, Maryland. The event goes from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. General Admission tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate, so purchase your tickets now! Also, check out special ticket prices and package deals here.

Housing Inventory Declines in Southern Maryland

by Don DeHanas, Associate Broker

Fewer home owners are listing their homes for sale as compared to a year ago, according to new statistical information provided by the Multi-Regional Information System, whcich shows declines in all three Southern Maryland Counties.

Charles County's inventory fell the most with nearly 27% fewer homes for sale last month than the same time last year, followed by Calvert County with more than 20% fewer home and St Mary's with 12.5% few homes. The number of units actually sold during September was down slightly in all three counties from the year before.

More alarmingly, the number of new contracts is down significantly from last year.  St Mary's was hardest hit with 33% fewer contracts, Calvert with 29% fewer contracts, and Charles County at 16% fewer contracts.  The average sold price also continues to fall with Charles County's average down by 9.25%.

Speculation is that the inventory is off due to some of the extreme weather we have experienced lately, however, the data provided by MRIS suggests the inventory slide began in late 2010 with only a modest increase during the second quarter of 2011. 

David Strickland joins DeHanas Real Estate

by Don DeHanas, Associate Broker

Don DeHanas, Manager at DeHanas Real Estate Services in Waldorf recently welcomed the affiliation of David Strickland.  “We are pleased and excited to have David join our operations”, says DeHanas.  “His energy and level of enthusiasm will certainly benefit his business and DeHanas Real Estate Services”.

 

David joins DeHanas Real Estate Services after three years as an accomplished Barista, and local Starbucks Manager. Originally from Atlanta GA, David graduated from Douglas County High School with honors, and attended Mercer University with a major in Psychology and triple minor. As you would imagine, David is an avid Jeopardy fan. He also enjoys gourmet cooking, reading and traveling. He resides in Port Tobacco with his best girl, Molly, his beagle.

 

DeHanas Real Estate Services is family owned and operated, and has been serving Southern Maryland home buyers and sellers for more than a decade. DeHanas Real Estate Services specializes in residential home resales, new construction, short sales and property management.

 

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The DeHanas Team
DeHanas Real Estate Services
1218 Smallwood Drive
Waldorf MD 20603
Office: 301-870-1717
1-800-842-0190
Fax: 240-754-7867

Servicing all Anne Arundel County, Calvert County, Charles County, and Prince George's County as well as Annapolis, Bowie, Chesapeake Beach, Crofton, Dunkirk, Edgewater, Ft. Meade, Huntingtown, La Plata, North Beach, Odenton, Owings, Pasadena, Severn, Waldorf, and the Upper Marlboro areas of Maryland, all of Washington DC, and Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, Arlington, and King George County real estate advertised in this website are subject to the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 which makes it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap and familial status, or national origin, or any intention to make any such preference, limitation or discrimination. DeHanas Real Estate Services will not knowingly accept any listing agreement for real estate sales in Anne Arundel County, Calvert County, Charles County, and Prince George's County as well as Annapolis, Bowie, Chesapeake Beach, Crofton, Dunkirk, Edgewater MD, Ft. Meade, Huntingtown, La Plata, North Beach, Odenton, Owings, Pasadena, Severn, Waldorf, and the Upper Marlboro, all of Washington DC, and Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, Arlington, and King George County areas which are in violation of the law. Our clients and customers are informed that all dwellings advertised on our website in Anne Arundel County, Calvert County, Charles County, and Prince George's County as well as Annapolis, Bowie, Chesapeake Beach, Crofton, Dunkirk, Edgewater MD, Ft. Meade, Huntingtown, La Plata, North Beach, Odenton, Owings, Pasadena, Severn, Waldorf, and the Upper Marlboro, all of Washington DC, and Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, Arlington, and King George County areas are available on an equal opportunity basis. All prices and finance claims appearing in this site are subject to change without notice.