Monthly Archives: March 2010

USDA Loans: End Of An Era For Home Buyers?

USDA Rural DevelopmentIf you’ve been thinking of buying a home in the Birmingham/Shelby Co. area using the popular USDA loan program which allows you to buy with no down payment, you may be fast running out of luck.

USDA says the program is projected to run out of money by the end of April, and no new funding is currently anticipated.

In Shelby County, USDA loans have been responsible for many people buying homes in areas like Calera and Montevallo, as well as across many other parts of Alabama.

Because USDA loans are so attractive to many buyers—mortgage insurance isn’t required, either—they have often meant the difference between whether a Buyer is able to purchase property.

Carmell Cantrell, First Federal Mortgage

Carmell Cantrell is a Loan Officer with First Federal Mortgage in Birmingham, and has been following what may be the demise of the program she and other Lenders have worked with extensively over the years.

USDA loans could be revived if Congress acts, but whether that will happen remains unknown. If the program does, in fact, end, it will stand as a major point in real estate sales history, signaling the end of the so-called easy credit era.

Click the player below to listen to our interview with Carmell now…

…or click here if you’d like to download and listen on your personal listening device.

So … what to do if you’ve been thinking of buying a home using USDA loan program?

Experts have two words to suggest: Start saving.


Appraiser Tom Horn: Birmingham Prices Down, But May Be Recovering

If Sellers sometimes have an unrealistic idea of what a Buyer is willing to pay, Tom Horn brings them back to reality.

Tom is an appraiser in the Birmingham and Shelby Co. area, and owns, a company Lenders and homeowners trying to sell on their own rely upon for accurate residential market appraisals.

Colleen and I caught up with Tom and got his analysis of what’s happening with home values in the Shelby Co. and Birmingham areas. We found out pretty quickly that talking with Tom is very interesting!

From everything we learned about home price trends in the area, as well as the negative effects on home sales prices caused by government-mandated changes in the way appraisers are selected, we knew we needed Tom to share his expertise with us.

Thomas Horn, Appraiser

We’ve divided our interview with Tom into two segments. Click the players just below to listen to Parts 1 and 2.

Tom Horn Interview Part 1:

  • Price trends overall from 2006 are down, but may be slowly recovering
  • New homes are competing heavily with owners trying to sell existing homes
  • Foreclosures are now “making” the market
  • Increasingly, Foreclosures are higher end properties
  • What banks are doing that hurts Sellers and the community

  • Tom Horn Interview Part 2:

  • How Sellers can try to keep their home’s value at its highest
  • How the Government’s plan to manage appraisals is causing complications and affecting values
  • How Appraisers are being paid less while Homeowners are being charged more
  • How to sell sooner, rather than later: The value of getting a pre-appraisal
  • …or, if you’d like to listen by downloading to your portable device:

    Click here to download Part 1 (10 Mb).

    Click here to download Part 2 (7 Mb).

    Links to Thomas Horn’s websites:

    Click for Appraisal-source website

    Click for Tom’s Appraisal Blog

    We hope you enjoy … and thanks, Tom, for the great information!

    David Black