We've heard a lot of great news lately about the housing market. Sales and prices are up, and foreclosures are down. That's all good, but here on the ground, out of the clouds, things are quite different.
In short, the housing recovery is passing me by.
I'm trying to sell a house and buy another, you see. And, I must say, it's a very ugly scene, right here in the heart of Texas.
For one, real estate is, as everyone says, very local. And along my street, my house has been on the market now for more than 70 days. But for all the talk of borrower interest, there is little traffic through my front door.
It's hard to sell a place when no one is coming to view.
It's a great house for someone, and today, I'm dropping several thousand dollars to put in new flooring in hopes of enticing an offer. Check out the particulars here.
I'd rather be sinking that money into updates on the house I'm buying, er, I mean the house I thought I was buying.
Today's closing has been canceled.
We moved in two weeks ago on a temporary lease. We even painted my young daughter's bedroom a pretty lilac color after the appraisal came back and showed the house was valued at $4,500 more than our offer.
But two days ago — two days prior to our closing date — the underwriter raised concerns about that appraisal and the comparables that were used. So now the appraiser essentially must start over.
The closing cancellation freaked out the sellers, who have asked for oodles of money — about three times the going rental rent — all paid up front today and have set a new closing date of Sept. 14. I guess they think we've somehow snookered them out of their house.
I can't blame them for being a bit freaked. I've been living and writing about housing woes for the past two years.
I found out that opportunities that worked for people in transition from one house to another in the past, like bridge loans, are now nonexistent unless you are a big and powerful company. (Jamie Dimon, in this article, notes that he'll provide a bridge loan overnight for Caterpillar, but Chase Mortgage [stock JPM][/stock] won't provide them to homeowners.)
Good credit doesn't really seem to matter as much anymore because you have to have a 20% down payment to go along with the good credit to avoid a costly FHA-backed loan, and not everyone is going to have both.
As an editor at HousingWire, I want the housing markets to fully recover, and provide the necessary products to finance the various scenarios reflecting home purchasing.
Yet if I'm having this much trouble getting into a new house, I wonder what it must be like for the first-time homebuyer. If foot traffic in my neighborhood is anything to go by, these homebuyers are sitting this recovery out.
Well, at least I've got some new flooring in one property, right?