Real estate trends of 2011

By Yvette Yeon - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you're thinking about buying a house this year, consider new resolutions.

"I think you're new year resolution ought to be 'let's make sure we get our credit straight' and 'let's keep our credit in good condition' and 'let's begin to save for that down payment,'" said Laura Lafayette, CEO of Richmond Association of Realtors.

Lafayette says lenders are playing tough these days.

But if you don't want to buy, and just want to stay where you are consider refinancing your home- get a lower interest rate so you can pay smaller monthly mortgages - it's all the rage in this economy, Lafayette says most homeowners have already done it.

"If you're planning on moving in the next couple of years that doesn't necessarily make sense, but if you're going to be in your house 5 to 7 years or more then refinancing makes some sense," said Lafayette.

Lafayette says the market is showing stability, keeping the current interest rate of 4.9 percent for several months. But there's still a lot of inventory, 10 months worth, especially in short sales and foreclosures, that's why if you have rental, don't sell it.

"A solid tenant who pays on time and keeps your property up, they're really good things to have and why would you put your house on the market and compete with all the homes that are out there," said Lafayette.

But, if you still must sell this year, you better be sure your property is close to perfect.

"If you don't price it right and you don't have it in tip top shape they're going to bypass your house a look at others," said Lafayette.

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