ABQ Open Houses

Even though the weather is a little bit chillier this weekend, there are still 97 homes in the Albuquerque area that are being held open. So bundle up and go look at some homes! You can view all the open houses in Albuquerque that are listed in the SWMLS.

Highlights:
Price range: $65,000 – $850,00
Bedrooms: 1-6
Bathrooms: 1-3

Open House Tip:
It’s okay to open the closets and cabinets to make sure there is enough storage space, but it’s never acceptable to start digging through the current home owners stuff! And you never need to open up drawers in furniture that isn’t built-in.

Our featured home this week is from Anita Mora with Coldwell Banker Legacy.

1416 Dorothy St Albuquerque NM 87112

1416 Dorothy Street Albuquerque, NM 87112

Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Est. Square Feet: 1,735
Price: $167,000
Listing # 805703

Open House on Sunday 3/2 from 2-4.
Contact for info:
Anita Mora, Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Legacy
8200 Carmel NE
Albuquerque, NM 87122
Cell: 505-400-8105
Direct: 505-292-8900
Office: 505-292-8900

Albuquerque Open Houses

This weekend there are 93 homes in the Albuquerque area that are being held open. With that many to pick from, there’s something for every home buyer! You can view all the open houses in Albuquerque that are listed in the SWMLS.

Highlights:
Price range: $99,000 – $750,00
Bedrooms: 2-6
Bathrooms: 1-4

Open House Tip:
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You know those beautifully staged homes you see? Some of them are using false furniture! It’s a great way to stage a home, but you don’t want to sit on the bed and find out it’s a cardboard box! Be sure to ask if it’s okay to rest a spell first!

Our featured home this week is from Anita Mora with Coldwell Banker Legacy.

8215 TIERRA LINDA PLACE Albuquerque NM

8215 Tierra Linda Place Albuquerque, NM 87122

Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3
Est. Square Feet: 2,542
Price: $362,000
Listing # 806077

Open House on Sunday 2/23 from 1-3.
Contact for info:
Anita Mora, Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Legacy
8200 Carmel NE
Albuquerque, NM 87122
Cell: 505-400-8105
Direct: 505-292-8900
Office: 505-292-8900

Principle Reduction and the Robo-signing Settlement – What Is Occurring?

home mortgagesThe Robo-signing settlement was finalized in February of 2012, and the major benefactors were supposed to be homeowners in need of mortgage relief as well as people who lost their homes to foreclosure, potentially because of mortgage and bank errors. It was discovered that mortgage companies and banks were rushing through the process on many of the homes they foreclosed on, neglecting to check important paperwork and take care of their due diligence. Homeowners were assured they would get relief as a result of this settlement, either by modifying their mortgages or unloading their homes through short sales instead of foreclosure and other remedies. There has been little news about how advantageous this settlement has been to homeowners who are still struggling with mortgage payments and those who lost their homes anyway.

The National Mortgage Settlement Act required the country’s largest banks to help their borrowers stay out of foreclosure. However, the housing situation is still so volatile and confusing, many homeowners are unsure about what they qualify for and what options are on the table. Most of them are hesitant to approach their lenders for any kind of modification, and refinancing is difficult because home values remain low while mortgage payments and costs continue to soar.

Homeowners who have not yet taken advantage of the robo-signing settlement should do what they can to benefit from this national action. Unlike the Home Affordability Modification Program (HAMP), this program is paid for entirely by the banks. If you asked for a modification before this settlement was reached and you were denied, ask again. The country’s largest financial institutions have been called upon in the courts to make it easier for you to keep your home. If loan modification is not enough to help you, talk about the option of a short sale so you do not have to endure a foreclosure. When you sell your house in a short sale, you will still be without a home to live in, but the credit damage and the blow to your financial security will be slightly less with a short sale. You can also work with your bank on negotiating your move-out date and, in some cases, getting a bit of financial help to find a new place to live, especially if you leave your house in good condition.

Politically and financially, nearly everyone agreed that the robo-signing settlement was a good thing for consumers, homeowners and the country as a whole. The only flaw has been in the administration of the settlement. Funds are available for the banks and mortgage companies to modify loans and work with their borrowers to keep them in their houses or release them through short sales, but the programs are not being utilized as much as they could be. If you find yourself struggling with your mortgage because of an interest rate that is too high, monthly payments that are out of reach, or any other reason, talk to your lender and ask for help.

This post was written for Growing Money by Stephen K Hachey. Stephen is a licensed Tampa real estate lawyer specializing in loan modifications, short sales, foreclosure and much more. He is also the owner of his own practice, the Law Offices of Stephen Hachey, PA. This article is for general informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a licensed attorney in your state of residence. For more information on our services, please visit our website at floridarealestatelawyer.org

Albuquerque Early Voting

If you are looking for 2010 information, click here.

Albuquerque Early Voting
The next regular election takes place on October 6, 2009. The Office of Mayor and Council Districts 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 are up for election. Early voting for the 2009 General Election runs from Sept. 16 through Oct. 2, 2009 at 5PM.

Albuquerque Early Voting Locations:

Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center
One Civic Plaza
City Clerk’s Office, Basement Level
Room B2041

City of Albuquerque Records Center
604 Menaul NW

APS City Center
6400 Uptown Blvd NE

Ladera Plaza
5300 Sequoia Rd NW
Suite G

Hours for all locations are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Please visit the City’s website for complete information about Albuquerque Early Voting.

The Movers’ Checklist

movers checklistOne Month Before

  • Contact a moving company and tell them the dates you plan to move. Set up a date for an agent to come over and survey your goods. Unless you’re given a binding estimate, the cost can vary, depending on the actual weight of items and any extra services.
  • Decide if you are going to pack for yourself or have the movers do it.
  • Draw a floor plan of your new house. This will help you decide which furniture stays and which goes.
  • Start getting suitable containers, boxes, and packing materials. Some moving supplies to be considered: markers, self-stick labels, newspapers, utility knife, packing peanuts/bubble wrap, tape, furniture pads, scissors, dolly.
  • Clean out closets, attic, basement, cupboards, toy chests, and bookshelves. Discard anything you don’t want or need. Consider having a garage sale or donate items to charitable organizations. Remember to obtain receipts for tax purposes.
  • Take a complete inventory of items to be moved.
  • Notify security, lawn, cleaning, pest, snow removal, and any other regular service companies of your move date.
  • Notify your Post Office, newspaper, cable TV, and subscription service companies of your change of address and move date. Pick up plenty of change-of-address forms!
  • Check your Homeowner’s Insurance and transfer records. Verify adequate coverage in your new location.
  • Check with your veterinarian on any travel preparation needed for your pets.
  • Register children for school and transfer all necessary school records.
  • Use up your fresh and frozen foods, as they can’t be safely shipped. Likewise, diminish your supply of canned goods.
  • Take the family for a farewell visit to places that hold happy memories. Help your children host their own “going-away” party. Hold an open house or informal dinner for friends to say goodbye. Keep it simple.

Two Weeks Before

  • Contact telephone, electric, gas, and water companies to advise specific date on which to discontinue services. Advise when to start services in new location.
  • Check requirements for new driver’s license and auto registration.
  • Ask your physician and dentist for referrals in the new location. Transfer medical records and get copies of your prescriptions.
  • Arrange for the transfer of valuables. Check contents of your safe-deposit box. Do not ship valuables such as jewelry, insurance policies, legal documents, currency, stamp, and coin collections with the moving company. Instead, carry them with you or send them by insured or certified registered mail.
  • Do not ship combustible and flammable items. These include oil-based paints, bleach, cleaning and lightning fluids, matches, and ammunition. All aerosol cans should be eliminated from the shipment, including hair sprays, shaving creams, deodorants, household cleaners, insecticides, tarnish removers, and car cleaners. Use up or discard these items.
  • Take your car in to have it checked for the upcoming road trip.
  • Return library books, videos, and anything else you may have borrowed.

One Week Before

  • Keep a detailed record and receipts of your moving expenses including transportation, lodging, and meals. Check with your tax advisor for tax and reimbursement purposes.
  • Drain gas and oil from lawn mowers, chain saws, snow blowers, etc. Gas grills and kerosene heaters must be empty. If transported by van, cars and motorcycles should have as little gas as possible. If transported by auto carrier, cars should have no more than half a tank.
  • Check to make sure you haven’t left anything at the dry cleaners.
  • Put linens and pillows in the dresser drawers to have handy for making beds the first night in your new home.
  • Place draperies lengthwise on hangers and hang in the closet. The movers will place them in wardrobe cartons.
  • Prepare a “ready box” for last-on/first-off of the moving van. This might include essentials from your kitchen and bathroom. Think about including a hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, and nails.
  • Prepare a “ready box” with necessary medications and first aid supplies.
  • Help prepare your children for the move by providing them with their own special treasures. Set aside toys and games and pack a box of snacks.
  • Defrost and clean the refrigerator and freezer at least 24 hours in advance of the move.
  • Remember to keep your telephone connected throughout loading day.

One Day Before

  • The packing crew usually arrives the day before the van is loaded; be sure someone is on-hand to supervise the packing. Point out which items should be loaded first onto the van (such as out-of-season items and decorative furniture) and which should be loaded last (such as items for children’s rooms and furniture such as china cabinets you’ll need for immediate storage as you unpack).
  • Pack any valuables you intend to take with you personally.
  • Make sure fragile items receive special attention. Label carton contents and where they go in the new home.
  • Gather keys to the house and arrange to leave them with your realtor.
  • Notify close friends or relatives of your itinerary in case of emergency.

The Day of Move-Out

  • Check the mover’s inventory to see that you agree with the mover’s judgment on the condition of your household goods. Take photos if there is a dispute.
  • Load those things you are taking on the trip, including luggage.
  • Search every room before the van leaves.
  • Check the inventory for completeness before you sign it.
  • Retain a copy of the signed inventory for your records.
  • Record the van driver’s name and give him/her your contact numbers at the destination. Confirm directions to the new residence.

The Day of Move-In

  • Arrive before the movers.
  • Check appliances, furnace, and hot water heater.
  • Check household goods carefully for loss or damage as they are unloaded. List all lost or damaged items on the inventory form.
  • Since you will probably do some unpacking after the movers leave, make a note on the inventory “subject to inspection for loss or concealed damage”.
  • Ask the mail carrier if he/she is holding any mail for your arrival.

Which Wich Albuquerque Spotlight

Which Wich AlbuquerqueWhich Wich Is For You?
With over 50 sandwiches, there’s truly a wich for everyone! Just walk up to the easy-order menu bar, grab a bag and a red sharpie, and make your selections for a sandwich that’s guaranteed to please! The dining experience is rich with the wall “vibes” of the UNM Lobos, Route 66, and New Mexico. Hit the free wi-fi, grab a newspaper from the rack, or eat outside on the patio and enjoy the feel of the

Which Wich menu and ordering area brick-light district. Children will enjoy filling out their own wich bags. Red or Green? Just select the colored sticker to add chili to any wich! After your wich, choose your warm-out-of-the-oven cookies! You can also enjoy a breakfast wich any time of day!

Which Wich also handles group orders and catering!

WhichWhich Wich reading rackWhich Wich is located at 2300 Central Ave SE, across from UNM. They’re open Mon-Sun 10am-9pm. For more about Which Wich, including their complete menu, visit their website at whichwich.com.

Letter of Pre-Approval

Letter of Pre-ApprovalAs I begin a buyer relationship, one of the first things I ask my buyer for is a letter of pre-approval from a reputable lender. This is important for several reasons.

You’ll know exactly how much money you can qualify to borrow. You might think you have a pretty good idea as to how much you can borrow. But your lender will help put things into perspective by factoring in things such as adjustable interest rates, mortgage insurance, property taxes, down payment percentage, etc.

Real-life example: My clients had used an online mortgage calculator and felt comfortable with a $200,000 mortgage. They were more than surprised to learn their lender would only approve them for $150,000!

You’ll have more leverage with counter-offers. The seller will feel more secure in negotiating with you, the buyer, because they know you are qualified to obtain the financing you need to close. You’ll also be glad you have your letter if you find yourself in a multiple-offer situation. Your offer will weigh heavier than one without a letter.

Real-life example: Even in a buyer’s market, sellers can find themselves in multiple- offer situations. I recall once when my sellers had four offers to choose from with less than $1,000 from top to bottom. In the end, it was a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender that swayed the sellers to take one of the offers!

I, your REALTOR®, can work better for you. First, a pre-approval letter will help me search better to match your specific needs. Second, many sellers–and not just those of luxury properties–will not make appointments to show their properties or accept offers without pre-approval letters.

Real-life example: By not having a pre-approval letter in place, my buyer lost out on a home whose sellers would not accept an offer without one. By the time my buyer obtained one, the sellers had accepted another offer!

Finally, be forewarned…

Make sure you have a pre-approval letter, and not a pre-qualification letter. A pre-qualification is not as reliable. Calling up a lender, giving some financial information, and then obtaining a letter without any verification or documentation is basically futile.

Pre-approval letters are time-sensitive. Many are good for only 60 days. Be careful, as always, with your credit spending and payments–in case you need to secure another letter.

Bernalillo County Tax Rates 2009

County Assessor Karen L. Montoya announced that the 2009 Notices of Value for properties within Bernalillo County were to be mailed out on April 1, 2009. Here is a list of the tax rates that make up the total property taxes for Bernalillo County:

A buyer should keep in mind that the tax rate is based on the old home value and can increase drastically when the home is sold.

Bernalillo County Tax Rates 2009Bernalillo County has a new Property Tax Calculator. Please note that the radio dial must be selected for Property Tax Calculator. On this same page, you can search for any property by address in Bernalillo County to view tax information.

What can be a bit of a surprise is that a large part of what we refer to as Albuquerque is not actually in the city limits. For example, Sandia Heights, North Albuquerque Acres, and large portions of the North and South Valley, are not a part of the city limits. For houses not in the city limits, the city tax (ABQ) would not apply. You can see this in more detail on the city council map.

APS = Albuquerque Public Schools
CNM = Central NM Community College
UNMH = University of New Mexico Hospital
AMAFCA = Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority

Dion’s Pizza Albuquerque Spotlight

Dion's AcademySince its opening in 1979, Dion’s Pizza has been serving up the “Best Pizza” (four awards) to Albuquerqueans. And no wonder, whether it’s my clients or my family, Dion’s always seems to be the popular choice. Pictured here is the Academy location.

Dion's DiningIf you’re not hungry when you walk in, you soon will be when you smell the delightful aroma. From pizza to subs to salads (pictured below) to various sides, Dion’s has quite an appealing menu. The proof, of course, is in the tasting. The dining atmosphere is clean, relaxing, and has ample seating. And the exterior dining room has pleasant viewing. I always seem to find excellent customer service. The clerks are friendly and accommodating.

Dions Dining RoomChildren particularly enjoy the pizza-making viewing area. Phone orders can be picked up inside or through the drive-thru. Dion’s also handles group orders.

For more information about Dion’s, visit their website at http://www.dionspizza.com or visit them on Facebook.

Dions PizzaDions SubDions Salad

Comparative Sales Defined

Comparative Home SalesComparable Sales: Sales that have similar characteristics as the subject property and are used for analysis in the appraisal process.

Simply stated…When doing a CMA (comparative market analysis) for a homeowner thinking of selling their home, real estate agents look at other homes that have recently sold. So as to compare apples to apples, they want to use homes that are similar in size, location, age, type, etc. For example, a 2 bedroom condo would not be a comparable for a luxury home. This will help you and your agent come up with the best price to market your home. Appraisers also use comparable sales data in determining the appraised amount when requested by a lender for a mortgage or re-finance. When you’re ready to sell your home, request your complimetary home value report!

For brief definitions of other terms, visit my Real Estate Glossary.