Dan Rochon – Greetings Virginia

Dan Rochon – Greetings Virginia

Dan and Traci Rochon with Keller Williams Realty is a full-service real estate sales company that helps clients in the Washington metro region buy and sell properties in all price ranges. The vast Keller Williams network allows our agents the opportunity to successfully complete hundreds of buying and selling transactions for our clients. As with any Keller Williams Realty office, our associates work their own way with their own clients, but we all come together to share our knowledge and resources.

Whether you are a “seasoned” home buyer or home seller or this is your first real estate transaction, all of our agents at Dan and Traci & Consultants with Keller Williams Realty are here to help you through this big step. Buying or selling a home can be very complicated and stressful, that’s why our agents are knowledgeable and have comprehensive training to help you with your real estate purchase and make it stress free as possible. We advocate for our real estate clients in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. The Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC area has full of history and great properties to buy.

Contact Dan and Traci Rochon today to find out how our team can help you!

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NAR Broker Tip of the Month: NAR Offers Resources to Help Enhance Data Security Practices

NAR Broker Tip of the Month—In a speech to the Federal Trade Commission on Monday, January 12, President Obama unveiled new proposals to address how consumers’ personal data is handled.

Among his proposals included “The Personal Data Notification & Protection Act” which clarifies and strengthens the obligations businesses have to notify customers when their personal information has been exposed, including establishing a 30-day notification requirement from the discovery of a breach.

President Obama also highlighted the actions of Bank of America and JPMorganChase, who have joined a growing list of firms making credit scores available for free to their consumer card customers.

Additional proposals announced at the event included a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” to give people more control over their data. President Obama discussed these proposals further in his State of the Union address on January 20.

NAR supports a single Federal standard for data breach notification and will work to see that any legislation enacted is narrowly tailored to protect small businesses from undue compliance burdens.

NAR has developed resources to help REALTORS® assess and enhance their businesses data security practices. For more information, visit http://www.realtor.org/topics/data-privacy-and-security/resourceshttp://www.realtor.org/topics/data-privacy-and-security/resources?cid=RISBROK0006

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Study Shows Consumers Aren’t Shopping around for Mortgages

mortgage_lenderA recently released study done by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found nearly half of Americans looking to purchase a home do not do their due diligence by shopping around for mortgage lenders. Rather, the survey found potential borrowers seriously consider only one lender, and that lender is often someone they’re already working with who has a stake in their decision.

In a move to encourage a better understanding of the mortgage landscape in their areas, the CFPB announced the launch of a new rate quote tool that allows borrowers to compare local rates without displaying specific lenders.

Don Frommeyer, CEO of The Association of Mortgage Professionals believes the rate quote tool will empower homebuyers in a way not seen in decades.

“We are pleased that the CFPB has released these figures,” says Frommeyer. “They tell the story that not enough people are shopping around for one the most important financial relationships they’ll ever have. We have suspected this for years. A mortgage broker’s main responsibility is to provide a number of alternative options in order for the homebuyer to get the best possible mortgage and to secure their dream home.”

Frommeyer urges homebuyers to know their options and avoid trusting the first credible opinion they receive, which could cost them thousands of dollars in the long run.

For more information, visit www.namb.org.

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HomeServices of America Announces Formation of Regional Brokerage

HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, announced Tuesday the consolidation of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate (based in Seattle, WA) and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate (based in Portland, OR), creating a regional Pacific Northwest brokerage.

Jason Waugh, current president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Portland will assume the role of president and CEO of the combined companies, effective immediately. Mike Gain, a 38-year real estate veteran and current president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Seattle has been named Chairman Emeritus where he will play an integral role in BHHS Northwest Real Estate’s success focusing on acquisition and expansion strategies and opportunities.

The merger unites the two companies, creating an organization with more than 725 real estate professionals providing residential and commercial clients in the Seattle and Portland metropolitan areas, as well as Central Oregon, the Yamhill County wine region and Oregon’s coastal communities with extraordinary strength and resources to help them buy and sell their homes. In 2014, the combined firm closed nearly $2.2 billion in sales volume.

“This merger creates a regional powerhouse within the Pacific Northwest,” said Waugh. “We are combining two organizations, each with immensely talented agents, sales managers and employees and a shared commitment to delivering an exceptional real estate experience into a company that will be unmatched in their ability to serve the real estate needs of new and existing clients.”

“I am extremely proud of everyone at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate and what we have accomplished,” said Gain. “Bringing these two companies together creates a tremendous amount of growth potential and I am looking forward to driving these opportunities in my new role within the company.”

“Mike and Jason have done an outstanding job in positioning Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate for continued growth and success,” said Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO of HomeServices. “Combining the operations of these companies brings together two great organizations and reinforces our commitment to expanding our footprint in the Pacific Northwest.”

For more information about Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate (Portland), visit http://www.bhhsnw.com/. For more information about Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate (Seattle), visit http://www.bhhsnwrealestate.com/. Information about HomeServices is available at www.homeservices.com.


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New Research Highlights Finance Constraints on Housing Demand

Mortgage and down paymentAn interesting new paper published by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York demonstrates the important role downpayment and wealth constraints play in shaping housing demand, particularly for lower-income homebuyers.

Using survey data, the authors (Andreas Fuster and Basit Zafar) employ a strategy to measure housing demand impacts that contrasts with the often-used, user-cost model of housing in prior studies.

Under the user-cost model, a market equilibrium of housing rents and prices is determined by downpayment size, individual future discount rates, the after-tax mortgage interest rate (net of the mortgage interest deduction), property taxes, maintenance costs, insurance and future growth in rents.  Calibrating this model allows a range of estimates that measure impacts in housing demand given market or policy changes that alter financing circumstances and requirements.

In contrast, the authors’ approach uses data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Survey of Consumer Expectations to measure homebuyers’ willingness to pay for a home under different downpayment, mortgage interest rate, and non-housing wealth scenarios.

The report’s empirical results find that homebuyers are less price-sensitive to changes in mortgage interest rates than the user-cost model would suggest. For example, the survey estimates suggest that a 200 basis point change in mortgage interest rates would have a 5 percent impact on housing prices in terms of willingness-to-pay.

Interestingly, the results also show that prospective homebuyers with less wealth (notably renters) possess significant increases in willingness-to-pay under lower downpayment requirements. In particular, according to the survey the willingness-to-pay for a home purchase for renters increases 40 percent when downpayment requirements are lowered from 20 percent to 5 percent.  This result implies that regulatory policy that targets loan-to-value mortgagequalification requirements will have the largest impacts on the most credit-constrained buyers, in particularly younger renters with lower wealth.

A third impact is the effect generated by access to non-housing wealth. The data indicate that, as an experiment, a $100,000 increase in non-housing wealth increases willingness-to-pay by 10 percent on average, although again the effect is much larger (four times so) for renters.

The paper’s empirical results once again highlight the importance that mortgage qualification requirements (economic- and policy-determined) have on housing demand, particularly at the lower-end of the housing market. While income and mortgage interest rates are clearly important demand-side factors, current market weakness exhibited among first-time buyers is also due to tight mortgage qualification requirements and access to non-housing wealth. Rising home prices and household balance sheet repair have certainly helped the economy over the last few years, but this positive impact has not had much effect for renters and younger households.

View this original post on NAHB’s blog, Eye on Housing.

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Your Budget: Rethink These Modern-Day ‘Necessities’

household_budget_familyCompare your monthly expenses to those of your grandparents (maybe even your parents), and you’ll probably find that your expense list is quite a bit longer. Over the decades, more and more conveniences, habits, and gadgets have found their way into our everyday lives. And gradually we’ve accepted them as normal, even necessary. (For instance, who thinks twice about paying a cell phone bill—talk, text, and data—these days?)

If we’re honest, we’ll admit most of these things don’t make us happy. (Certainly, the personal debt burden doesn’t.) That’s why Donna Skeels Cygan, author of The Joy of Financial Security is nudging us to rethink our expenses and “pay attention.”

“We all know we need to spend less and save more,” she says. “Well, when you cut out some of the big-ticket items that we seem to think are necessities—but that really aren’t—you’ll have a lot less stress and more financial breathing room.”

Here, Cygan spotlights 10 modern-day expenses that might be keeping you from financial freedom:

A big fancy house. You see gorgeous pictures of others’ homes on TV and Facebook and think, My home needs to look like that, too. Newsflash: Most people don’t live in spacious, picture-perfect homes, regardless of the impression social media may send. And even if they do, are they really happier than those in smaller, more modest homes?

Moreover, consider why you want to upgrade your living space. Is it because you’re a six-person family in a two-bedroom house? Or is because you just want to impress the occasional visitor (who, if he or she is a true friend, won’t care about the size or lavishness of your house anyway)?

If you already own “too much home,” you might downsize to a more modest (and less expensive) one—and purge a lot of your extraneous possessions while you’re at it. One unexpected benefit is that you may find that your friends are envious of the fact that you’ve been able to simplify your life.

A new car. If your neighbor just got a new car, you may find yourself thinking, My car is six years old…maybe it’s time for a new one. But ask yourself: Is my current automobile impractical because of size, poor gas mileage, or the fact that it requires a steady string of repairs?

If not, take a step back and remind yourself, My car will last another six years if I maintain it, and maybe longer. I do not need a new car. I want to be financially responsible, which requires saving and investing my money wisely. Then, focus on the things you can do with the money you’re not putting toward a car payment.

More clothes, shoes, and accessories. Many of us want to look stylish and trendy, and some of us even view shopping as a form of entertainment. Problem is, a frequent shopping habit isn’t easy on the wallet…and it’s likely that most of your purchases languish in your closet, where they’re rarely (if ever) worn. So the next time you feel like hitting the mall, ask yourself if there’s anything you really need. If not, resolve to wait—perhaps until the next season change—to add to your wardrobe.

An expensive, exclusive education for your child. If the tuition is way over your head, it’s time to look into other options. Remind yourself that private schools and colleges often don’t deserve the prestige their PR departments have created. (And while your child’s future is important, you need to be saving for your own retirement—a fund many well-meaning parents neglect while funding their children’s educations!)

If your family decides to take out college loans, Cygan recommends making sure some of the loan balance will be repaid by your child. Knowing that his education isn’t a freebie will make it more meaningful to him—and may also sharpen his motivation to graduate in four years!

Over-the-top gifts. Every holiday season (and birthday and special occasion) you overspend on gifts and are left with a financial hangover when your credit card bill arrives. You need to have an honest conversation with yourself: Do you think the price of a gift has any correlation with the appreciation from the recipient, or with how your friends or family feel about you?

It is important to set a budget for holiday gift-buying and to think creatively about gifts (or better yet, plan special experiences instead of purchasing gifts).

Frequent restaurant meals. Yes, dining out is convenient. But done regularly, it can also be awfully expensive. Deep down, you know that with a little planning ahead and prep work, you can save a lot of money by cooking at home. You may also find that staying at home is relaxing, and chances are, most of your home-cooked dishes will be healthier than restaurant meals.

A full complement of gadgets, devices, games, and channels. Yes, it’s nice to have (literally) hundreds of channels to flip through. But how many of them do you actually watch? Would you be just as satisfied with a much less expensive video-streaming subscription? And what about “toys” like tablets, smartphones, and video game systems? While they’re entertaining and often legitimately useful, how much of your time and attention do they take up?

Think about what you’re not getting done and the time your family is not spending with one another. At the very least, it might be time to set screen-time limits, and to stop purchasing each new update for your gadgets.

Lavish vacations. How often have you booked a trip to some overhyped destination just because it’s what you do every year…or because it’s what the neighbors are doing…or because you’re seduced by a slick ad promising a “discounted” (but still pricey) air fare and hotel rate…or because you think you “deserve” it?

But the truth is, these trips rarely live up to our expectations…and the residual bills haunt us long after we’ve left Paradise behind. Be honest: Would a couple of long weekends in a rustic cabin in the mountains be nearly as enjoyable as a blowout trip to a fancy resort?

A constant parade of extracurriculars for your kids. These days, some kids are busier than many adults. Between school, homework, sports, music lessons, volunteering, and more, they’re “working” the equivalent of 70- or 80-hour weeks. But the truth is that enrolling your children in two or three activities each is causing you to spend yourself silly and is stressing out everyone involved (especially your kids, whom all of this is supposed to benefit most).

Yes, your intentions are good, but it might be time to cut back. Allow your children to choose one or two activities each—and if it’s something inexpensive like YMCA soccer (as opposed to a traveling team), so much the better. Be sure to use some of your newfound free time to do something meaningful as a family, whether that’s game night or a trip to the park.

Your gym membership. Belonging to a gym and participating in various types of exercises is healthy. But unless you’re a devoted, enthusiastic attendee of each spin or Pilates class, consider dropping that gym membership. Do you really use it enough to justify the expense? Plus, walking is free, and exercise videos are cheap. You might even be able to start a neighborhood walking club and get to know your neighbors!

“It’s important to put thought into the parts of your budget you can control, because some modern-day expenses—like the rising costs of healthcare, gas, and food—are out of your direct control,” Cygan concludes. “The first step is to recognize that ‘things’ rarely bring us joy—including those things our culture tells us we need. We don’t need them. And when we make changes based on our real values rather than following the herd, we’re more in control, which translates to real happiness.”

For more information visit www.joyoffinancialsecurity.com.

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