How to Negotiate for Furniture When You’re Involved in the Sale of a House

February 27, 2011, 4:46pm

To effectively negotiate furniture into the sales agreement for a house, you should identify in advance any furniture that you are interested in selling or buying, let the realtor know your terms and expectations, don’t be afraid to receive or make a counteroffer, and closely examine the sales contract.

You can expect to do a lot of negotiating and bargaining when buying or selling a house. Common points of discussion between sellers and buyers can include the price of the homes for sale as well as what items are included in the sales agreement such as furniture. Here are several suggestions for negotiating furniture effectively when purchasing or selling a home:

Earmark early on any furniture you might be interested in selling or purchasing

A list of which pieces of furniture that you wish to either leave behind or include in the sale of the house should be made Furniture is included in the contract mostly when the buyer and seller can’t come to a deal. You must have a good preparation to face buyers who come with a topic of including additional items in the package. If you are a buyer, you should make sure to identify any items in the house that you might be interested in when you are allowed to see inside. Adequate attention must be paid on expensive furniture pieces that decorate your home as their replacement would be difficult.

Explain to the realtor what you want and how you plan to go about it

Make a note of which things you want to purchase or sell and give the list of items to your realtor. The realtor will be responsible for presenting the terms and handling the negotiation between the buyer and seller. For buyers, it is important that you let the realtor know what your expectations of the deal are. If you are selling, make sure not to let go of a large amount of furniture quickly. Be sure to let the realtor know your terms, but early in the negotiation it may be wise to hold off on offering high-cost pieces. You can offer your more expensive furniture items only if you see that the potential homebuyer needs some encouragement to pursue the deal.

Try not to be intimidated by accepting or proposing a counteroffer

If you are a seller, you should be prepared for your initial offer to be rejected and for the possibility that you will receive a counter proposal. If you are presented with a counteroffer, look over it to see if the terms and conditions are consistent with your needs and then make a decision about whether you want to add furniture to the agreement. For purchasers, don’t be scared to speak up with an alternative if you notice the seller’s proposal still has negotiation room.

Closely examine the sales contract

Sellers should already have written a contract with clearly defined terms. Take care to check carefully to decide if it is suitable and not going to place you at a disadvantage. In the case of buyers, make sure that you have examined the contract to determine if the seller included any furniture pieces in the deal. In case you’re worried about missing any minor details, feel free to have your lawyer take a look at the documents.

Buyers and sellers need not be nervous about negotiating all the possible issues as the purchase and sale of a property is a major event for both.

Original article at


Home sales continue rise in January while today’s mortgage rates continue fall

Submitted by Sandy Smith on 2011-02-25

For the first time in seven months, the pace of existing-home sales in January outstripped the level of one year ago, according to the latest figures from the National Association of Realtors. Continued low mortgage rates are helping spur sales – and those rates continued to fall this week.

According to the NAR, existing-home sales in January rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.36 million units, 2.7% above December’s downwardly revised level of 5.22 million and 5.3% above the 5.09 million annual rate of January 2009.

Sounding a familiar theme, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “The uptrend in home sales is consistent with improvements in the economy and jobs, which are helping boost consumer confidence. The extremely favorable housing affordability conditions are a big factor, but buyers have been constrained by unnecessarily tight credit. As a result, there are abnormally high levels of all-cash purchases, along with rising investor activity.”

For those buyers who can obtain credit, though, mortgage interest rates are attractively low and getting lower. With the release of this week’s Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have pulled back solidly below the 5% threshold they crossed at the beginning of the month. The average contract rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 5 basis points to 4.95% on this week’s survey, with discount and origination fee points averaging 0.6. The average contract rate for a 15-year ARM fell 7 points, to 3.8%.

Moreover, the houses on the market are also more affordable. The latest figures from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed national home prices falling 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2010, moving to within a percentage point of the low set in the first quarter of 2009.

Today’s mortgage rates move weakly downward

The downward drift in mortgage rates also continues on the overnight surveys for today.

Yesterday’s afternoon mortgage rates rates on the National Mortgage Marketplace, with changes from Wednesday and last week, were: 30-year fixed, 4.75% (-1 point, -7 points); 15-year fixed, 4.06% (-1 point, -7 points); 5-year ARM, 3.24% (+2 points, -17 points). Today’s real-time average rates as of 9:30 a.m. ET, with changes from yesterday morning and afternoon, are: 30-year fixed, 4.74% (-2 points, -1 point); 15-year fixed, 4.01% (-6 points, -5 points); 5-year ARM, 3.25% (-6 points, +1 point).

This morning’s home loan rates on the overnight survey, with changes from yesterday and last week, are: 30-year fixed, 4.87% (-3 points, -6 points); 15-year fixed, 4.16% (-3 points, -7 points); 5-year ARM, 3.56% (-1 point, -6 points); 30-year fixed refinance loan, 4.88% (-2 points, -6 points).

One basis point equals one hundredth of a percentage point. Rates reported in this article assume good credit (FICO score of 650 or higher) and a 20% down payment.

Original article posted at

U.S. Mortgage Demand Rose From Two-Year Low on Falling Rates

By Bob Willis - Feb 23, 2011 4:00 AM PT

The number of applications for U.S. mortgages rose last week, led by more refinancing as mortgage rates fell to the lowest level since the end of January.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of loan applications increased 13 percent in the week ended Feb. 18 after dropping the prior week to the lowest point since November 2008. The group’s refinancing measure jumped 18 percent and the purchase gauge rose 5.1 percent.

“Refinancing is more sensitive to fluctuations in rates” than are purchases, Paul Dales, a senior economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in Toronto, said before the report. Still, he said he expected refinancing to “remain soft” with sales at “historically depressed levels for perhaps two or three years.”

The average rate on 30-year fixed mortgages dropped to 5 percent as turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa led investors to seek the safety of U.S. Treasury securities, which are benchmarks for some consumer loans, pulling down their yield. Still, mounting foreclosures, falling prices and 9 percent unemployment mean it will take time for demand to pick up.

The 30-year rate fell from 5.12 percent the prior week. It reached 4.21 percent in October, the lowest since the group’s records began in 1990.

At the current 30-year rate, monthly payments for each $100,000 of a loan would be $536.82, in line with the same week the prior year, when the rate was 5.04 percent.

Rates Fall

The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.28 percent from 4.34 percent.

The share of applicants seeking to refinance a loan rose to 65.7 percent from 64 percent the prior week.

The housing market is struggling to gain traction after a homebuyers’ tax credit expired last year and as more properties fall into the foreclosure pipeline. Combined sales of existing and new homes in December were at a 5.61 million annual unit pace, down from a July 2005 record of 8.53 million.

A report from the National Association of Realtors today may show existing home sales fell 1.1 percent to a 5.22 million annualized rate in January, according to economists’ estimates. Sales of previously owned homes last year totaled 4.91 million, the lowest level since 1997.

Builder Losses

Homebuilders are still posting losses. D.R. Horton Inc., the second-largest U.S. homebuilder by stock-market value, on Jan. 27 reported a fiscal first-quarter loss that was wider than analysts projected.

“I think 2011 will be a marginal, weak year in the homebuilding industry,” D.R. Horton Chief Executive Officer Donald Tomnitz said during a conference call the same day. “Given the weak macroeconomic conditions, high levels of existing homes for sale and tight mortgage availability, we remain cautious and realistic in our expectations.”

The Washington-based Mortgage Bankers Association’s loan survey, compiled every week, covers about half of all U.S. retail residential mortgage originations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Willis in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at

Original article published at


Home prices near 2009 lows — and may fall more

By Les Christie, staff writerFebruary 22, 2011: 2:02 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Home prices took a big hit at the end of 2010, even as the rest of the economy gained steam.

National home prices fell 4.1% during the last three months of 2010, compared with 12 months earlier, according to the latest report from the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, a closely watched indicator of market trends. They were down 1.9% compared with three months earlier.

“Despite improvements in the overall economy, housing continues to drift lower and weaker,” said David Blitzer, spokesman for S&P.

And things may get a lot worse, said Robert Shiller, a Yale economist and half of the Case-Shiller team, in a web conference after the report’s release.

“There’s a substantial risk of home prices falling another 15%, 20% or 25% more,” he said.

Shiller cited a few reasons for his bearish stance. The government is expected to reduce the presence of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the housing market. These agencies currently provide loan guarantees for about two-thirds of mortgages. If they fade away, private mortgage money will have to fill the gap and the cost of mortgage borrowing will surely rise. That will hurt home prices.

There’s also talk of possibly ending the mortgage interest tax deduction for many homeowners. Meanwhile, the weak economic recovery may be threatened by higher oil prices as a result of turmoil in the Mideast.

At the web conference, Shiller’s index partner Karl Case wasn’t much more optimistic.

“I see [the market] bouncing along the bottom with a slight negative trend,” said Case, an economics professor emeritus at Wellesley College.

A widespread drop

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the national index surpassed the low it hit in the first quarter of 2009.

The decline was widespread, with 18 of the 20 large cities covered by a separate S&P/Case-Shiller index recording losses for the year. The only gains were posted by Washington, which was up 4.1%, and San Diego, which saw prices climb 1.7%.

The biggest loser for the year was Detroit, where prices dropped 9.1%.

“We’re really close to being at the bottom again,” said S&P’s Maureen Maitland. “Last year’s gains came courtesy of the tax incentives and the market is not holding up on its own.”

The impact of homebuyer tax credits ended back last spring, and the two quarters of data since then reflect that. Prices fell steeply during the third quarter, down 3.3%. When the credit was in effect, prices rose consistently, up four out of five quarters starting in the second quarter of 2009.

S&P reported that both the company’s 10- and 20-city indexes also fell month over month. In three cities, Detroit, Cleveland and Las Vegas, home prices have dropped below their January 2000 levels — yes, you’d have to go back to the past millennium to find lower prices there.

Eleven markets, including New York and Chicago, have reached their lowest levels since home prices peaked in 2006 and 2007.

The losses were not unexpected, according to Brad Hunter, chief economist for Metrostudy, a housing market research firm.

“It’s clear now that, going back to last fall, the apparent strength was a false strength,” he said. “Now that the tax credits are gone, we’re back to where the training wheels are off, to normal consumer demand.”

He expects home prices to decline gradually throughout 2011, with markets picking up only when hiring increases substantially.

Original article at

The Cost of Waiting for Prices to Fall


Many purchasers have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for home prices to hit bottom. They want to guarantee that they are purchasing at the best possible price. Like them, we also believe that prices still have some room to fall in most markets. However, we disagree that waiting is a good financial decision. The buyer should not be concerned about housing prices. They should be concerned about cost.

The cost of a house is made up of the price AND THE INTEREST RATE they will be paying. Two different pieces of news released yesterday highlight this point.


The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their 4th quarter housing research report. In the release, they reported that home sales rose 15.4% in the 4th quarter over the 3rd quarter. They also showed that prices remained stable during the year:

The national median existing single-family price was $170,600 in the fourth quarter, up 0.2 percent from $170,300 in the fourth quarter of 2009.

A buyer who delayed a purchase might find solace in the fact that prices have not increased. However, the other news released yesterday paints a different picture.


The Primary Mortgage Market Survey was released by Freddie Mac which showed that the 30 year fixed rate mortgage was at 5.05%. Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac said:

“Long-term bond yields jumped on positive economic data reports, which placed upward pressure on mortgage rates this week…As a result, interest rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to the highest level since the last week in April 2010.”

So prices have remained stable but interest rates have risen dramatically in the last 90 days. What does that mean to a buyer looking to purchase a home this year?

The price is the same. It just costs more.

Let’s show you what the news means:

By sitting on the sidelines for the last 90 days a purchaser lost:

$89.44 a month
$1,073.28 a year
$32,198.40 over the thirty year life of the mortgage
If you buy a $340,000 home, double all these numbers.

Bottom Line

Even if prices fall another 10% this year, the cost of a home will increase if interest rates go up more than 1%. Buyers should not worry where prices are going. They should be concerned where costs will be later in the year.

Original article published at

Obama administration releases plan for overhauling mortgage market, calls for phasing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

February 11, 2011 |  7:07 am

The Obama administration on Friday released its long-awaited proposal for overhauling the mortgage  market, calling for gradually shutting down bailed-out Fannie Mae and Freddie Macand reducing the government’s now huge role in housing finance. Continue reading “Obama administration releases plan for overhauling mortgage market, calls for phasing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac”