Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Just Put That Condo on My Card...


Consider this the ultimate step in impulse purchases: On September 15, American Express Company announced that it will now allow a selection of its cardholders to use their Amex cards to make a down payment when purchasing a condo. American Express is rolling out its new program in conjunction with the New York-based real estate firm Moinian Group for sales of the new Atelier luxury condominium in midtown Manhattan, though the company sees expanding it should the program prove successful. Plans call for condo buyers to earn reward points (possibly one point for every dollar charged) or frequent-flier miles, as well as extend the timeframe for meeting down-payment requirements. Those in the financial world are intrigued by this move. "I find this program to be quite interesting," said Rami Futerman, Managing Partner at F&M Mortgage Group, LLC. "From experience, this program needs to be implemented properly in conjunction with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines, to avoid disqualification of the borrower/buyer from getting a traditional mortgage." That being said, Futerman believes such a program, if it came to DC, would probably "increase the sales and financing for the high end condos that are now springing up around the metro area." Where there is a will to buy real estate, it seems the market will always find a way....

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