Archive for July, 2009

Determining a homes value is not always as easy as it seems.  While your real estate agent and ultimately, a real estate appraiser will determine the true value of the house you are buying, it’s a good idea for the first time home buyer to have some basic understanding of how home valuation works.

Your Real Estate Agent should be able to give you sales in the areas you are interested in. In addition to sales you should be looking at active sales. Your Real Estate Agent can supply you with active sales in addition there are several websites that show sales for the area.  You can also access MLS listings in your area on line through a number of free real estate websites

Please Note:

Comparing sales and active listings to homes you are interested in you need to make sure you understand what is comparable. What meets FNMA guidelines in comparing properties.

If homes in your area have basements, make sure you compare the living space (above grade finished square feet) to living space and basement (below grade finished square feet) to basement. Other words you can’t consider rooms and finished square feet in the basement and compare them to rooms and finished square feet in the living space. They must be separated and compared accordingly.

FNMA requirements for split foyers/split levels state that the “lower level”, regardless of its percentage of finish or percentage of area above grade, unless it is 100% above grade, be considered as “finished basement” and only the area fully above grade be considered finished living area.

When dealing with finished expansion areas you need to consider ease of entry and to make sure the ceiling height meets local codes and/or FNMA guidelines. Also the area must be finished similar to the main level. (Check local codes)

When dealing with bedrooms – the bedroom must have a closet and it needs to be separate from other rooms by closing a door or doors. It can’t be a room that is used to get to another room or bedroom, etc.

These are some of the most common misconceptions about homes. These and other factors affect value of the home.

Other factors that need to be considered and may or may not affect value. Scenic views, corner lots, busy streets, function utility, etc.

If you need more help on these matters please leave a comment or email us at


This is a difficult and somewhat controversial question. Yes Radon Gas is a problem at high levels. Radon Gas at high levels is a concern for all. It is especially important for those homes that have basements and especially for those that are using it as finished space. Please note that, in some areas throughout the country radon is at high levels in just the soil that you come in contact daily.

Testing is easy and inexpensive. If you have concerns you can check on line and get information on what is radon, causes, testing and remedies. Go to . This link will take you to the main site for information on radon. You will find several articles, links and other pieces of useful information. A direct link to Basic Radon Facts can be found through this site or go to and look under Learn About Risks From Radon and click on Basic Radon Facts. Its in English or Spanish.

This is great news for most American who did 100% mortgages at the top of the real estate market and now they owe more than their house is worth. This will give all those people who qualify a chance to refinance into today’s low rates giving them a lower house payment.

If your loan is held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and you are current on your mortgage payments, you may be eligible to refinance your mortgage loan even if your LTV is up to 125%. LTV, or loan-to-value-ratio, is a measurement that compares the principal balance of your loan (the amount you currently owe) to the actual value of the house. For example, if your loan amount is $300,000 and the current value of your home is $240,000, your LTV is 300/240, or 125%.

This applies to Minnesota mortgages so if you are in this boat and you want to explore your options, call Dominic DesMarais at 612-247-8233 at Metropolitan Financial Mortgage company or you can click on this link to read the FHFA news release