Shari Olefson's blog

Floods and flood insurance used to be considered a southern coastal issue ut looking at natural disaster maps of the US for the past decade you will see that, not only have the number of natural disasters including floods, increased dramatically, but so have the geographic location of floods and other natural disasters; A major hurricane (Sandy) in New York-New Jersey?

Major flooding in New England and Colorado mountains, Taxes plains? An earthquake in DC? In fact many flood issues now occur, not on the coast, but in low lying inland areas.

Biggest red flag is price growth outpacing job and income growth. Average American workers earn almost 10% less than a decade ago yet home prices are higher, attributed to paying larger portion of income for housing. Anything over 30 to 35% can render a homeowner house poor.

We all sympathize for the thousands of folks who've been furloughed due to the government shut down but could it also be impacting your own home value?  

We've heard about government agencies cutting back "non essential" staff.  Is that what's affecting home sales?

Result is buyers and sellers who don't HAVE to buy or sell now have stopped trying. The longer the shut down the more risk your home value will be affected.

How is shut down impacting housing now?

The primary impact thus far relates more to government agencies that support the financing necessary for home loans than to homeowners/buyers/prices per se. For example anyone trying to buy sell or refinance a home now will learn;

Fannie and Freddie don't rely on appropriated funds (ironically now that they're generated healthy profits) But as per the contingency plan required by OMB, non essential staff have been cut meaning applications are taking longer than usual to process and approve.

The answer is it depends. You’ll have four types of plans to choose from- bronze silver gold and platinum – based on how premium you’re willing to pay and how much you’re willing to pay towards the cost of your health care such as deductibles and co-pays. If you’re under 30 years old or low income, you’ll also have the option of choosing catastrophic coverage only which of course will have lower premiums but only covers major events as is the case with insurance we’re all used to, the lower the premium the higher the costs when you need care. So between now and October 1st everybody planning to enroll should be thinking about your family’s health care needs and past service use. For example, do you expect a lot of doctor visits and medications? Your answers to those questions will, in part, determine how much coverage will cost you.  

Last week we talked about the new on-line Health Insurance Exchange where you can buy insurance beginning October 1st. The question is how much will this new way of buying health insurance save – or cost – you and your family?

Big Changes!! You've been hearing an awful lot about ObamaCare for a long time. Open enrollment for the health insurance exchanges officially start Tuesday, Oct 1.

With housing inventory still at all time lows, we hear time and again from folks who want to buy a home but are having a tough time finding one that’s available to buy.

When the bubble burst, inventory peaked at over 1.5 million homes with no takers back in October 2007. As recently as 2010 inventory was still increasing more than normal. But in 2011 and 2012 there were only small increases and then a sharp decline. However, year over year drops in inventory have slowed for each successive month in 2013. So we’re home shoppers are still feeling the effects of inventory declines, but it’s getting easier and easier to find a home, a trend that will likely continue because inventory most likely bottomed earlier this year.

With interest rates rising, more and more of us are considering adjustable rate loans. So what do you need to know if you or a loved one is concerned about rising interest rates? How do you know if an adjustable loan is the way to go? And why are folks trending back towards adjustable rate loans again?

America’s commercial real estate market is alive and well as we will see in indicators to be released August 28th. In Commercial multi family still looks best due to the large number of new renter households comprised of folk who lost their homes and others who can’t qualify for financing as well as first time buyers choosing to rent or live with family will they pay off student debt and find good paying employment.


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