Homes: The Next Generation - 04/24/2013
A generation that has grown used to the conveniences of touch-screen devices expects the same from their homes, a new survey shows. The survey, conducted on behalf of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, reveals that the next generation of homebuyers prefers customized smart homes to the traditional luxury or prototype homes of the...Read More

Retirees: Refinancing take some diligence - 06/24/2020
Retirees who rely on social security, pension and investments need different budgeting techniques from when they drew a paycheck. Except many of today’s retirees carry an expense once shouldered primarily by working people: A mortgage. “We will examine the current mortgage to see if there are any opportunities to lower...Read More

Keeping a paper trail, even when eClosings are electronic - 10/07/2020
A lot less paper and ink are now involved home sale transactions since the virus crisis has dramatically accelerated eClosings, the industry term describing how the necessary contracts can be signed and sent from one party’s computer to another. In some states allowing electronic notarization, home buyers/sellers can sign by simply...Read More

Foreclose Activity on the Decline - 01/18/2012
Longer processing timelines resulted in fewer filings in 2011 Drive around and you might see a lot of for-sale signs up, but the number going up as a result of a foreclosure is on the decline. RealtyTrac’s 2011 Year-End U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, released Jan. 12, shows a total of 2,698,967 foreclosure filings –...Read More

The Etiquette of the Real Estate Transaction - 10/15/2014
Americans today enjoy the freedoms of the dressed-down workplace and relaxed attire standards that have become accepted at schools, churches, stores, restaurants and other places where people meet, greet and congregate—even formally. Indeed, comfort, casual and convenience are in, and the suit and tie, it would appear, are...Read More

The Big Payoff - 04/18/2018
Like many of his customers during the past few years of ultra-low mortgage rates, Charles Chedester of Iowa-based Midwest Family Lending refinanced his 30-year mortgage into a fifteen-year loan so he’d be mortgage-free by retirement. Mortgages with shorter terms usually cost more per month than a 30-year mortgage since more principal...Read More

Could moving maximize remote work savings? - 09/23/2020
For many of those forced to work from home during COVID-19, the shelter-in-place order hardly feels like house arrest. Surveys show up to half love the time and money saved from ditching their commute. No surprise, then, that some remote workers are hoping to maximize the savings by making work-from-home permanent, moving to a less...Read More

Nailing The Right Remodeling Financing - 07/28/2021
In the past pandemic year, homeowners who didn’t suffer income disruptions enjoyed fatter stimulus-fed savings accounts, and many decided to use those dollars for home improvements. Now, the surge in smaller and DIY projects will give way to more pricey remodeling, predicts Abbe Will, of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing...Read More

Thrift Shopping: Find an App to Save a Downpayment - 06/12/2019
Saving for a down payment is so difficult that it’s consistently rated as the biggest obstacle facing aspiring homebuyers. Now, help is widely available through mobile apps. Indeed, just input “apps to help you save money” or “apps to help save for a down payment” in a search engine to call up...Read More

The Homeowner’s Voice - 09/25/2013
With homeownership rates on the decline, a newly established national alliance wants to be the voice in Washington for those who own. America’s Homeowner Alliance is the first-of-its-kind lobbying group charged with protecting and advancing the rights and interests of America’s homeowners. It calls itself a nonpartisan...Read More

Lots to Like: Small Yards Have Appeal - 09/21/2016
Land. They’re not making more of it. But that may not matter much to many of today’s homebuyers or owners. U.S. Census figures peg the median lot size for a new single-family detached home at 8,600 square feet, a record low. (An acre is 43,560 square feet.) Significant regional differences in lot sizes exist, however,...Read More

To Live Happily In Your Dream Locale, Start Digging - 10/14/2020
A new term has entered the real estate lexicon, “untethered,” referring to remote workers with the freedom to move a distance from their employer. Their ranks are growing, with a recent Redfin survey finding 13 percent of buyers are searching for homes in locations they didn’t consider pre-Covid19. John Pinto, a...Read More

The new retirement goal: be with the grandbabies - 03/17/2021
Retiring, relocating Baby Boomers are drawn to the Southeast and Southwest, where there’s “desirable weather and relatively affordable new housing,” finds a survey from Zonda, a housing research firm. No surprise there, except that the poll of 15,000 relocating Boomers shopping for a newly constructed home found that 25...Read More

Which Buzz Works Best? - 04/10/2013
Real estate agents know that key words in home listings like “beautiful,” “dream home” and “must-see” are commonly used to target homebuyers. However, a new study reveals homebuyers prefer listings that include descriptive terms and factual information rather than subjective descriptors. A study conducted...Read More

A new standard for mortgage holders - 03/25/2020
This April, Rand Spero, president of Street Smart Financial, Lexington, Massachusetts expects to field the same question from several clients: Should we pay down our mortgage principal? Returns for 2019 mark the second year that the big overhaul of the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act,” (TCJA) dramatically increases the “standard...Read More

When the nest is the nest egg: - 09/11/2019
Many eager pre-retirees obsessively track their 401K balances. Then, others who keep watch on their home’s value. Although no statistics define how many Baby Boomers poured a large share of their wealth into their home, thinking it would someday serve as their retirement nest egg, it’s not an uncommon scenario, says Jamie...Read More

Challenges Confront Housing Recovery - 08/06/2014
Despite signs that the home sales, prices and construction continue to improve in key markets, several formidable obstacles stand in the way of a national housing recovery – especially challenges confronting younger buyers – according to a new report recently released by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard...Read More

Firm Advice: Consider Both Agent And Brokerage - 12/23/2015
If you’re thinking of buying or selling, chances are you’ll select your real estate agent based upon a name referred from a friend, neighbor, or relative. Referrals are the number one way both first-time and repeat buyers and sellers settle on an agent, according to surveys from the National Association of Realtors. But...Read More

Down Payments on the Rise - 12/07/2016
In a positive signs for the market, the residential real estate market continues to heat up, and the average down payment is growing. The percentage of first-time homebuyers is also on the rise, according to a new report from online loan marketplace The average down payment amount – when compared to the total home...Read More

Projects for a Perfect Next Summer - 09/13/2017
It may seem a bit premature to think about getting your house ready for next summer when this summer has just past. But now is the ideal time to get your outdoor projects completed before the 2018 summer begins. While the sky’s the limit in terms of what you can tackle, here are a few to get you started: • Remember to follow an...Read More

Housing Bust for Boomers? - 12/26/2018
It’s almost 2019. One year closer to a housing crash, this one impacting millions of age 65-plus Baby Boomers. Two out of five homes are owned by Boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964. Millions of those homes will be up for sale in the next few years, predicts a recent study from Fannie Mae and University of Southern...Read More

Work It Out: STR Ownership Might Not Offer Easy Money - 04/12/2023
What could be better than getting a paycheck without the work? This seductive message promoting various types of “passive income” has gained traction on social media platforms like TikTok. It’s helping fuel interest, especially among younger adults, in ventures like owning a “short-term rental,” {STR}, using...Read More

New methods for approving rental applications - 04/22/2020
Some people rent instead of buy because they fear their credit score won’t pass muster with a mortgage lender. Now, though, more landlords are also using computer-driven scoring to evaluate prospective tenants. For renters, the good news is that some evaluation methods may work in your favor. For instance, the American Apartment...Read More

Putting Tuition On the House Tab - 08/10/2016
Many of the students headed for college this fall won’t be leaving home totally behind: The value of their family home will be helping pay tuition bills. Given the low interest rate environment and “depending on the situation,” home equity lines of credit or loans are popular, says Deborah Fox, of Fox College Funding, a San...Read More

Buying & Selling Dollar Deals - 03/19/2014
They say there’s no romance without finance. For many, there’s also no residence without financing. But more homebuyers than you’d think actually prefer pure cash transactions in which the balance is paid in full without mortgage loan borrowing. In fact, based on new data recently released by RealtyTrac, deals...Read More

A Shadow Shrinks - 08/22/2012
Finally, some bright housing news. Prices nationally rose 2.5 percent this past June, according to CoreLogic Inc., a Santa Ana, Calif., housing research firm. Moreover, prices at the end of the second quarter jumped from the previous quarter by percent increases not seen since the housing boom years. Lots of experts have declared...Read More

The Big Picture Look at Living in A New Location - 08/18/2021
For many, living better in retirement means living somewhere new, evidenced by the fact that 18 percent of all recent buyers were between 56 and 65, according to stats from the National Association of Realtors {NAR}. But while dreams of a golf community, a better climate, or simply smaller, one-story living can be the original moving...Read More

Renters Now Pay By Credit Card - 01/20/2021
The COVID economic fall-out left millions of renters financially struggling. In response, more landlords are taking credit card payments, and a significant number of tenants have met their rent for at least one or two months by putting it on plastic. While the credit card option served as an emergency lifeline to many, renters...Read More

Investors Provide Certainty for Sellers, Frustration for Buyers - 06/30/2021
“Will I ever beat the competition?” That’s the question home buyers, waiting in lines to enter an open house, only to have their offer rejected again, are asking themselves. Frustrated shoppers, go easy on yourself. Currently, says Rick Palacios Jr., principal of John Burns Real Estate Consulting,...Read More

I Love Your House - 10/31/2012
When her clients fell in love during an open house tour, agent Jesenia Ontiverso of Century 21 Marty Rodriguez in Glendora, Calif., feared they could be disappointed, since homes in the area were garnering multiple offers. But Ontiverso thinks some lucky timing had a hand in the sellers accepting her clients’ offer. “I...Read More

Where the First-Time Buyers Are - 09/10/2014
The homeownership rate fell to 64.7 percent in the second quarter of 2014, matching a nearly 20-year low, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. One reason: fewer first-time buyers. The percent share of first-time buyers in July was 29 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors, up 1 percent from June but still well below...Read More

Flood Changes - 04/10/2019
Flooding so severe it’s predicted occur just once every one hundred years now seems to happen annually, in multiple locations around the U.S. In response, the federal government has announced it is refining its premiums and flood maps to indicate more levels of risk for its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will more accurately...Read More

Will Owning Your Home Make You a Better Driver? - 01/28/2015
Have a driving ambition to own a home? Purchasing that dream property may end up saving you money behind the wheel, suggests a new study. recently analyzed user data and found that 14.3 percent of homeowners had filed at least one car insurance claim in the past three years versus 16.8 percent of renters and 22.2 percent of...Read More

Need Assistance? Apply Soon - 02/13/2013
In February 2010, President Obama initiated the Hardest Hit Fund for homeowners struggling to pay mortgage bills in certain states after the housing crisis. While the program had assisted 94,000 families by December 2012, “We think the program can reach about 400,000 families,” says Andrea Risotti, spokesperson for the U.S....Read More

For what it’s worth: Zestimates decoded - 01/08/2020
Home sellers interviewing possible listing agents often hear differing opinions on price. If local pros don’t agree, how can a website get the value of some 100 million homes, right? Well, the site -- -- doesn’t claim to pinpoint a price. It reads that its “Zestimate” is “an estimate of a...Read More

When A Home Offers Something Special - 07/14/2021
How would you like to live in a Craftsman bungalow, replete with a wide front porch and interior beams? Or maybe you’re better suited for a Georgian colonial featuring that style’s many front-facing windows and pillared porch? Unfortunately, dreams and reality can be at odds in real estate, especially now. “Most...Read More

Will Your Rent Rise? - 01/31/2018
Overall inflation has been tame the past decade. But not for many apartment dwellers, who saw rents rise six percent or more annually for the past eight years. Now that inflation is heating up for other goods, in 2018 rental rates will stay out of step, with only a moderate increase of less than three percent nationwide, according to...Read More

Low Supply + High Demand = High Prices - 04/29/2015
The lack of new housing supply is keeping housing costs high, squeezing renters and buyers. A new report from Zillow shows that U.S. renters can now count on spending 30.1 percent of their income on rent; home purchasers, meanwhile, can expect to fork over more than 15.3 percent of their monthly earnings toward a mortgage payment. The...Read More

Form and Function - 12/02/2009
A creative single mother had just endured a major remodel of her home, but the added space and new layout had her stumped. She was having a hard time making the furniture arrangement in her living room be both functional and attractive. She had many lovely accessories, including a collection of family photos and original paintings, but she...Read More

Secrets Behind Home Staging - 06/05/2019
It’s show time! Forty percent of agents say that when a home is “staged,” or altered in some way to hold more appeal, purchasers are more positively inclined towards the property, according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors. Ideally, staging is invisible to buyers, who see only an attractive...Read More

The sellers’ guide to buyers with VA financing - 04/01/2020
What do home sellers in the Atlanta, San Diego and Phoenix areas have in common? If you have a connection with the U.S. military, you’ve probably guessed it: Your buyer might be paying with a VA-backed mortgage loan. Ten percent of all home purchases in 2019 were with VA financing, and that should grow this year, say...Read More

The Rental Choice That Feels Like Owning - 03/24/2021
“Do you rent or own?” For millions of households, the technical answer is ‘rent,’ but they’re living in a home that’s similar to what they’d buy if they went the ownership route. Indeed, for the past decade a burgeoning number of single-family homes have been converted to rentals; with more...Read More

In Today’s Market, Tapping Equity Can Be a Smart Move - 07/13/2011
At first glance, a home equity line of credit might seem so 2006. But despite tighter post-bust lending restrictions, HELOC can be a smart borrowing option for homeowners who fit the right criteria. While today’s HELOCs are not vastly different than those of recent years, their limits and restrictions have drastically changed, says...Read More

Making a Luxurious Living Room - 08/06/2008
“When my guests come over they always walk right by my living room. No one ever wants to sit with me!” complained my client. Although there was plenty of seating and her arrangement honored the traditional focal point, her guests tended to shy away from the fireplace area. She also felt like the room didn’t reflect her...Read More

Refinancing? Watch for Hidden Fees - 01/18/2017
When homeowners refinance their homes, their lender provides them with a HUD-1 Settlement Statement. By law, this standardized form itemizes the services provided by the lender and any associated fees. Many lenders point to this form as proof that the rates they offer contain “no hidden fees.” But there is one fee that’s not...Read More

Mortgage Help for Natural Disaster Victims - 12/05/2018
Regardless of flood, wind, or fire, when disaster strikes the federal government steps in to help. But homeowners may not realize that the federal government could already have a hand in their mortgage. Specifically, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-backed agencies, buy a big portion of mortgages from lending firms. You can find...Read More

Home at School - 09/04/2013
A recent list of the top 10 college towns to invest in real estate by names Baltimore, Grand Forks, Mich., and Cleveland in the top three spots. If your child is headed off to college, buying a property in their new home away from home can be a lucrative investment. But before you do, here are a few tips to consider: •...Read More

The Loans That Welcome Vets Home - 10/22/2014
When rules for qualifying for a conventional mortgage tightened in the wake of the financial crisis, VA loans, guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, spiked in popularity. “Since 2007, the volume of VA loans is up 370 percent,” observes Chris Birk, director of education at Veterans United, a loan company in Columbia,...Read More

Retirement Spots Ripe for Investment - 08/14/2013
As more Baby Boomers head into retirement, cities that attract retirees could be opportune spots for real estate investors, according to a recent report from RealtyTrac, real estate data source. From a list of 40 cities with a population of 33 percent or more retirees, RealtyTrac identified the “Top 15 Retirement Hot Spots for Real...Read More

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