Monthly Archives: February 2008

Tax reprieve for Hampton Roads Motorists

The Hampton Roads Transportation Authority announced on Monday that there would be a 30-day delay in the collection of new regional taxes and fees.  I just read this welcome bit of news in an article in HamptonRoads.com entitled, “Residents get one-month reprieve from road taxes and fees“.  This comes ahead of the Authority’s plans to impose seven new taxes and fees in hopes of helping to finance approximately $9 billion in local transportation projects.  These new taxes, which include a higher gas tax, new taxes on vehicle sales, vehicle rentals and vehicular repairs, will go into effect on May 1.

This delay will benefit motorists primarily because they are the ones who will be paying the majority of these new taxes.  According to Arthur L. Collins, acting executive director of the Hampton Roads Transportation Authority has stated that in return for this increase in taxes, Hampton Roads residents will receive a transportation network that is viable.

So who will pay these new taxes?  Residents of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginian Beach and Williamsburg as well as those living in the counties of Isle of Wight, James City and York.

How much are the new taxes?

  • There will be a 2% increase on the sales tax for gasoline
  • An increase in property sales tax.  Grantor’s tax rate will go up from 10 cents per $100 to 50 cents per $100.
  • 2% tax on vehicle rentals
  • 5% tax on labor for auto repair

The new fees are:

  • A 10% increase on vehicle registration fees
  • A 10% increase on the cost of annual vehicle inspection fees
  • An initial titling fee amounting to 1% of the value of the vehicle

If you would like to read this article in its entirety, please click the link below.

Residents get one-month reprieve from road taxes and fees“.

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Renovations/remodeling add beauty and value

While home prices continue their downward trend, there are things that homeowners can do to maintain and even add to their home’s value.  While reading HamptonRoads.com today, I ran across an article entitled, “In tight housing market, remodels catch eyes, add value” that talks about one of the ways homeowners can increase their homes’ value and attract more buyers that are serious.

According to this article, remodeling is fast becoming one of the best ways to add value to your home and make it more attractive to prospective buyers.  The article warns, however, that while it is important to concentrate on high-value areas like the kitchen and bathrooms, too many homeowners forget something equally as important, using high quality materials.  Sure, you can save some money in the short term by using materials of lesser quality, but in the long term, you could minimize the value you add.  A study by the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies shows that homeowners who spent 2.5 times more on improvements to their homes increased the value to their home by 100%, whereas homeowners who spent less only added 50% of value to their homes.

The amount of money that you spend is not the only important thing.  It is important to choose high-quality materials that are traditionally popular in order to make your house attractive to a wide range of buyers and tastes over years of evolving trends.

There are more homes for sale at present than qualified buyers and this has caused home prices to drop in many areas across the country.  If you are thinking of performing some renovations or remodeling, I recommend that you read the tips and advice in this article before you do so in order to find out how to maximize the return on your investment.

Article: “In tight housing market, remodels catch eyes, add value

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MORTGAGE LENDING UPDATE

Just an update from one of my mortgage lenders, Nancy Brown, with Resource Mortgage, soon to re named Fulton Mortgage:

This is an update concerning lending and how it affects both buyers and sellers in light of the fact our area has been named a declining market (I to disagree with this assessment.)

As many of you have heard, Fannie Mae (FNMA), the largest purchaser of residential mortgages in the secondary market, recently released a new policy announcement stating that they will lower the loan-to-value (LTV) on loans that they purchase in what they feel to be “Declining Markets”.  There are several sources that FNMA looks to in order to determine what they believe constitutes a “Declining Market”.  Several of these data sources, specifically S&P/Case-Shiller® Home Price Indices and a number of the Private Mortgage Insurance Companies have placed the Hampton Roads/Virginia Beach MSA in the “Declining Market” category.  Based on FNMA’s new policy this could mean that a 5% LTV reduction by lenders may be necessary in order to comply with the new FNMA requirements.

Resource Mortgage believes that the majority of our markets in Hampton Roads are stable and not declining.  As such, we have developed an alternative outlet to the secondary market directly through the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB).  The FHLB, unlike Fannie Mae, is not designating declining markets and LTV reductions.  Therefore, Resource will continue to offer maximum financing on both conforming and jumbo loan products in our market.

Other recent FNMA and investor guideline changes also include credit score, and LTV adjustments to interest rate and points for borrowers. Resource   Mortgage will not be charging these increases since they are not required by FHLB.  This can make a significant difference in the rate and terms available to your buyers.

The mortgage industry has gone through unprecedented changes recently and there will likely be more changes to come before things stabilize.  I am here to support your business in any way I can.  Resource Mortgage (soon to be renamed Fulton) and I value our partnership with the real estate community and will continue to support you in these turbulent times.

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Filed under For home sellers, For homebuyers, Hampton Roads real estate