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Friday, October 24, 2014

Take 2 Tylenol, Reduce the Asking Price?

Yesterday, Wall Street Journal published an article titled "Can Tylenol Ease the Pain of a Home Sale?" in response to a study at the Univeristy of Kentucky. The study "Can Acetaminophen Reduce the Pain of Decision Making?",  based on the principle that physical and emotional pain can overlap, has now been connected to the real estate industry. Psychologists, journalists, and real estate professionals are asking the question, could painkillers cause homeowners to reduce their asking price? 

According to www.scientificdirect.com, "experiments showed that acetaminophen reduced the pain of decision-making, as indicated by lower attitude change that accompanies cognitive dissonance and lower selling prices when selling personal possessions." The study of 95 undergraduate students compared asking prices when the students were asked to sell a mug. The students were asked to study the mug for 30 seconds "to create a sense of attachment," before making an offer, according to WSJ. Students who took acetaminophen asked for about $4.15 to $5.92, while students who took a placebo asked for about $5.55 to $6.27. 

Stefanos Chen of WSJ explained that "the results illustrate 'loss aversion'... the thought of losing the mug caused pain, and the acetaminophen helped students who were attached to the mug decide to sell at a lower price." Professor Nathan DeWall of Univeristy of Kentucky stated, "It's the same principle at play when a sentimental homeowner balks at an agent's comparable sales figures and demands a higher price for his home."

It is hard to say without further research whether or not the same results would apply to an item with much higher sense of attachment - such as a home. 

What do you think?  Leave your comments below! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Advice for Homebuyers

CF Funding was recently featured in an article by Melissa Newton of MoneyBasicsU.com, titled "5 Tips of Achieving Homeownership." Based on a one-hour workshop that our very own CF Funding loan officers presented at the Plainfield Public Library, the article provides great advice for first-time homebuyers. Check it out here: http://moneybasicsu.com/5-tips-of-achieving-homeownership/

In a recent blog post on www.nahb.org, the National Association of Homebuilders gave advice on financing your first home, and suggested that all first-time homebuyers attend an educational seminar to familiarize themselves with the homebuying process and common mortgage terminology. To sign up for CF Funding's next free class, contact mgarland@cffunding.com or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cffundingcorp for updates.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

CF Funding Offers IHDA Grant for First Time Homebuyers, Military Personnel

CF funding shares exciting news for first-time homebuyers and military personnel this week, as the lender is approved to provide down payment assistance through the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s Welcome Home Illinois Program. Qualified homebuyers, which may include first-time homebuyers, active military personnel, veterans, and those who have not owned a home in the past 3 years, could qualify for $7,500 or more in grants to help cover down payment costs as well as additional funds for renovation. The program also offers below-market interest rates and a variety of loan options including FHA, conventional loans, and USDA loans.

In order to qualify for this limited-time program, homebuyers must purchase a one or two-unit property within Illinois, and live in this property as a primary residence. The homebuyer must contribute one percent or $1,000 of the purchase price, whichever is greater.

CF Funding is excited to start providing the grants to homebuyers, as IHDA’s programs not only provide down payment assistance, but can also allow federal tax credits that can reduce income tax liability by up to $18,000 over the life of the loan. Tax credits may apply to the Smart Move Trio program (for first-time homebuyers), or Welcome Home Heroes program (for veterans and active military personnel).

Another program that CF Funding now offers through IHDA is Illinois Building Blocks, which “helps strengthen communities with programs that turn vacant homes into valuable homeownership opportunities.” Eligible communities in this program include Belleville, Berwyn, Blue Island, Champaign, Chicago Heights, Cicero, Crest Hill, Joliet, Lockport, Lynwood, Maywood, Melrose Park, Park Forest, Peoria, and South Holland. According to ihda.org, up to 75 homes will be available through the end of 2014. These rehabilitated homes are “professionally renovated and move-in ready. Improvements vary in each house but may include HVAC, electrical, roof, updates to bathrooms and kitchen… etc).This program is also available to non-first-time homebuyers! Down payment assistance is slightly higher in this program with up to $10,000 cash for qualified buyers.

A refinance program called Smart Move Plus is also now available through CF Funding, which allows a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with competitive interest rates, and a variety of loan options to choose from including FHA, Conventional, VA, and USDA.


To apply for an IHDA loan, homebuyers should visit the lender online at www.cffunding.com or call 888-344-4080 today.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Remodelers' Outlook Positive, Real Estate Changes on the Horizon

CF Funding is happy to share that remodelers’ ratings of current market conditions have increased to a score of 56 in the second quarter of 2014. In the NAHB’s quarterly survey, the Remodeling Market Index (RMI) rose three points, “reclaiming the territory it had lost during what was likely a weather-related dip in the first three months of the year,” according to a blog post today by Paul Emrath. A score of 50 or higher is positive, as more than half of remodelers in the survey reported high market activity, a great indicator for future activity.

The survey measures current conditions with 3 factors: major additions/alterations, minor additions/alterations, and maintenance /repair. In Q2 2012 scores were as low as 42 in some categories, and in Q2 2014 all scores were above 53. Future market indicators such as calls for bids, amount of work committed for the next 3 months, backlog of remodeling jobs, and appointments for proposals were also all above 53. Improvement in the jobs market has impacted the RMI, as homeowners have regained equity and confidence in the housing market has increased.

In other real estate news today, Realtors may be surprised to hear that Zillow Inc. is seeking to purchase Trulia Inc., and the two rival real estate websites may combine in the near future. The two websites are used by realtors, homebuyers, and home sellers to list homes and apartments for sale or rent. The companies make money by charging realtors and homesellers a fee for advertising. In June, the sites had over 85 million visitors and acquired almost 90 percent of traffic out of the 15 most visited real estate sites. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Zillow may pay up to 2 billion dollars to acquire its rival site, and two-thirds of the price may be paid with Zillow stock. Both companies saw a rise in stock today, with Zillow rising more than 15 percent and Trulia rising 32 percent. Trulia’s revenue is expected to increase 76 percent this year to reach 253 million dollars, and Zillow’s revenue is expected to increase about 58 percent, reaching 311 million dollars.


Rumors of the two companies merging have not been publicly confirmed by members of either company. Regardless of the outcome, CF Funding hopes to see the sites continue to support realtors, FSBOs, and homebuyers as they buy and sell properties. Realtors and other home sellers who need assistance using these online tools to list properties may contact CF Funding today by calling 630-328-8905.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Foreclosure Activity Decreases to Lowest since 2006

CF Funding is happy to share that foreclosure activity has been reported at its lowest levels since before the housing crash. In the first half of 2014 (January through June) there were 613,874 foreclosure filings, which is a 23 percent decrease from the first half of last year. As CF Funding mentioned earlier this month on their blog, the Obama administration is taking steps to continue to decrease foreclosures, and the lender expects that more improvement is to come in the next few years as the economy improves.

The Midyear 2014 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, released this week by RealtyTrac, revealed that one in 214 homes in the U.S. reported a foreclosure in the first six months of this year (about 0.47 percent). Foreclosure activity for June totaled 107,194 properties, which is down 2 percent from May 2014 and down 16 percent from a year ago. Ten states reached their lowest levels of foreclosure activity since the housing crash in 2006, including Texas, Georgia, Colorado, Tennessee, Arizona, and Nevada. CF Funding is licensed in Texas, Florida, and Colorado, and the lender was happy to see such high foreclosure improvement in those states.

Only nine states saw an increase in foreclosure activity in the first half of 2014 in comparison to the first half of 2013. Those states include New Jersey (up 54 percent), Maryland (up 18 percent), and Iowa (up 10 percent).

It may be disheartening to see that Illinois is ranked at the country’s third highest foreclosure rate in the first half of 2014, at one in every 123 housing units. However, Illinois has a longer foreclosure filing process than many other states in the country. This means that although foreclosures are recovering in Illinois, the statistics reporting a decrease in filings may lag behind other states by a few months. CF Funding is happy to share that Illinois foreclosure activity did decrease 16 percent in comparison to the second half of 2013, and 32 percent from a year ago. The Chicago metro area also saw a 30 percent decrease in foreclosure activity in the first half of 2014 compared to a year ago.


Those who are in danger of foreclosure should contact CF Funding today to take advantage of free credit repair services with a refinance. The lender has assisted thousands of homeowners to regain positive equity in their homes. Call 888-344-4080 or visit www.cffunding.com today. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Has the American Dream Evolved?



CF Funding has helped many families achieve the dream of homeownership over the past 14 years. As the Independence Day holiday weekend has come and gone, CF Funding  evaluates what other factors are considered to be a part of “ the American Dream.” Does the dream refer to a shiny car, a large family, or a 3-figure salary? According to James Adams, who coined the term, “The American Dream is that of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement… It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are immediately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are.”



A glance at recent economic news may indicate that the American Dream is out of reach in present day. College graduates are having trouble finding jobs and are often living at home with parents. Recovery from the recession is slower than expected in many markets.  However, a majority of Americans have achieved the American Dream, in regards to the dream of homeownership, education, and job opportunities, says the DDB of North America. The study revealed that 66 percent of US adult respondents have been able to own a home in their lifetime, 78 percent were able to obtain a good education, and 74 percent were able to find a decent job in their lifetime , yet only 40 percent described themselves as living the American Dream. The reason Many Americans remain pessimistic may be that the American Dream has evolved.

Factors such as “buying the car of one’s dreams” at 35 percent and “making a lot of money” at 25 percent were rated less easy to attain by respondents. However, factors that are less related to wealth such as “decent health and medical care,” “feeling relatively safe, “ being treated fairly,” and “having enough food to eat” rated closer to the 80-90 percent ranges. Are Americans less grateful than in previous decades, or has something else changed? According to Mosche Cohen, achieving and maintaining the American dream “have become so difficult that people are not enjoying it.” People are trying to “shoehorn themselves into this concept of the American dream, and they are losing the freedoms it’s supposed to provide… you take a step back and you say things are getting better. Are they enough? Never, because life is about growing higher and higher, but things are getting better.”

CF Funding agrees that the economy is improving, and will continue to improve in the coming years. The dream of homeownership is becoming more easy to attain, especially for first-time homebuyers and veterans who can receive up to $10,000 in down payment assistance from programs like IHDA’s Welcome Home Illinois. For more information on these programs, contact CF Funding at 888-344-4080 or www.cffunding.com.