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November, 1999 Newsletter

The Home Buyer's Information Center Newsletter

+++++++++++ November 22, 1999 +++++++++++++++++++

Mortgage Rate Update
New on the Site: Mortgage Questions
This Month's Tip: What is the "right" price?


Welcome to the November edition of the Home Buyer's
Information newsletter.
The real estate market, overall, still shows good
signs of strength for this time of year. New home
sales may be flattening just a bit, but re-sale
activity remains fairly strong for the holiday
Thanks to all of you who have sent us some great
comments (and suggestions) for the Home Buyer's
Information Center. Many of the updates and
new sections that we add to the site come from
visitor's comments. Thanks again! You can always
send feedback to us at:
If you have used the Home Buyer's Information Center
to assist you in purchasing a home, please let us
know what you found the most helpful.

Mortgage Rate Update
As of mid November, in the U.S., mortgage rates
have actually showed some signs of improvement,
averaging in the 7.50% range for a 30 year fixed
mortgage with 1 point--a decrease of about a
quarter point. In Canada, 3 year closed term rates
have remained fairly stable in the 8.00% range.

In the U.S., the rate increase by the Fed did not
seem to have a strong effect on the fixed rate mortgage
market. Economic forecasters are fairly divided
on the future track of rates. Some are pointing toward
a slight increase, others to a moderate decrease but
many are taking a "stability" posture--subject to,
as always, the effects of inflation.

Additional mortgage information can be found at:


New on the Site: Mortgage Questions
We have compiled a number of the most frequent questions
we receive regarding the mortgage process with answers
that will help to steer you in the right direction. It
can be a complicated process and the more information
you have at your disposal the more successful you will
likely be.
Mortgage Questions:
Mortgage Hints and Tips:

Free Credit Report
If you are planning to secure a mortgage in the purchase
of your home, one of the first recommended steps is to
check your current credit report to discover any potential
mistakes or inaccuracies. FreeCreditReport has made this
a simple process with the availability of a free copy of
your credit report as well as a free trial of their
CreditCheck monitoring service. There is no obligation
and it gives you the opportunity to iron out any problems
before they can cause time delays and aggravation. More
information at:

This Month's Tip: What is the "right" price?
We get a large number of emails from home buyers who are
in the process of purchasing a home who ask the questions
"how much should I offer on a house?" or "what is the
normal amount below the listing price that a house should
sell for?" Since buying real estate almost always involves
negotiation, buyers obviously do not want to find that
they have overpaid for a property after they have closed.

It is important to understand that when it comes to real
estate prices and the negotiation of them that there are
no "standard" nor "normal" ranges. Unlike negotiating the
purchase of a car, where there are established prices and
costs, the many variables and factors present in a real
estate transaction will influence the price you should
offer--and likely how much you will pay--for any given
property. Some of the factors involved include:

* How is the home priced in relation to the CMAs
(Comparative Market Analyses)?
A home that is priced well above the market averages will
obviously have the most opportunity for negotiation. If
the property is overpriced relative to the overall market,
it is imperative that you do not blindly enter a contract
that requires you to pay more than the home is worth. A
Buyer's Agent should be able to develop a CMA for you that
will give you a clear idea of the general market values of
the area in which you have an interest.
Sample CMA at:

* How long has the home been on the market?
In general, the longer a home remains on the market the more
likely some price negotiation will be. A seller who has
just put their home on the market will usually be much more
likely to attempt to get a full price offer before they
begin to consider concessions. Houses that have become
"stale" are often ripe for negotiation, but it is important
for you to determine why it has been on the market for a
long period without finding a buyer.

* How active is the real estate market in the area in
which the home is located?
In some active markets--where the inventory of homes is
low in relation to the number of buyers--how much under
the listing price you offer is not even a consideration. It
is much more likely that it is how much you offer OVER the
listing price that will determine if you even have a chance
at a contract. In less active areas--where there there are
many more homes available than buyers--you obviously will
have a much better chance that you will be able to
negotiate a price under the listing price.

* How motivated are the sellers? Do they WANT to move
or NEED to move?
NEED sellers have strong motivation. WANT sellers may
believe they are motivated but are more likely to want to
get maximum dollar for their property. A good Agent, when
representing you as a buyer, will attempt to determine the
motivations of the seller. In general, a seller who has a
genuine need to move will be the most receptive to offers
below the listing price.

For more information, see the following areas on the site.
Buyer Agency:


As always, if you have suggestions for improving the
site, or topics you would like to see addressed in
this newsletter (or, if you have used the Home Buyer's
Information Center to successfully purchase a home),
drop us a quick line to

Thanks and have a great early Holiday Season!
The Team at the Home Buyer's Information Center

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