Friday, March 31, 2006

Fw: Boom Pushed Ownership Beyond Reach of Many, Study Finds

The recent housing boom moved prices beyond the means of average folks, new research shows.

Families whose full-time jobs pay between minimum wage and 120 percent of their area's median income are less able to afford their own places today than 25 years ago, the Center for Housing Policy in Washington reported this week. (Read More)

Source: Washington Post

Insurers must warn of credit problems

Do you want to know when errors or omissions in your credit files raise your monthly mortgage payments by hundreds of dollars? (Read More)

Source: Baltimore Sun

You, Too, Can Fix Leaky Faucets and Broken Outlets

A few years ago, an old-fashioned handyman told me of a specific task he did for a couple each spring. Both husband and wife were so mechanically challenged that they'd hire him to change their light bulbs. Why: That drip-drip-drip sound drives you crazy. And you're wasting water. Why:...... (Read More)

Source: Washington Post

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bigger Houses Bring Big and Costly Energy Problems

SAN FRANCISCO -- Despite higher natural gas, electricity and heating oil prices, consumers continue undaunted in their quest for bigger homes with features such as five bedrooms and three-car garages. With location on home buyers' minds, energy-efficient features may be an afterthought as the... (Read More)

Source: Washington Post

Existing Home Sales Post Unexpected Gains

WASHINGTON -- Sales of existing homes unexpectedly rose last month as a warmer than usual winter boosted demand in many parts of the country, but a slack demand in some areas produced what one analyst called a "tale of two cities." (Read More)

Source: Washington Post

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fw: Home-Price Indexes to Launch

BOSTON -- Homeowners and real estate investors nervous about a bursting of the housing bubble will soon have new tools to hedge against a pullback in home prices. (Read More)

Source: Washington Post

Rent or Buy? Markets Reach New Equilibrium

During the real estate boom of the past five years, many area renters anxious to enter the caffeinated market before it was too late stretched and searched and scraped to become homeowners. (Read More)

Source: Washington Post

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Flipping cases of homes drop 77% since '99, report says

A month after Gwendolyn Moore bought her first home, the roof started to leak. Then she learned that her monthly mortgage payments would jump from $500 to $700 and that her interest rate would grow each year. (Read More)

Source: Baltimore Sun

Millions face squeeze on mortgages

Many borrowers can expect large payment increases as interest rates reset

Millions of Americans who stretched themselves financially to buy homes face a painful adjustment -- some could even lose their houses -- as monthly payments on adjustable-rate mortgages are reset higher.  (Read More)

Source: Baltimore Sun

Monday, March 27, 2006

Real Estate Mailbag

Q: DEAR BOB: I have decided to sell my home so I can afford to move to a nice nearby assisted-living residence. My two-bedroom home, built in 1938, has become a bit run-down. However, it is in a good neighborhood where most homes have been remodeled or rebuilt. (Read More)

Source: Washington Post

New-home sales take a tumble

New-home sales fell by the biggest amount in almost nine years last month while home prices declined for a fourth straight month, raising concerns that the once high-flying housing market could be in for a rougher-than-expected landing.  (Read More)

Source: The Seattle Times: Real Estate

When Remodeling No Longer Adds Up

MILWAUKEE -- No more remodeling for the Nowakowskis.

Over the past 20 years, they've redone a lot -- windows, floors and added a master suite -- in their Greenfield, Wis., house.

Each project has brought their once-tired house in line with its prettier neighbors. Larry Nowakowski figures that he and his wife, Nina, will get back every dollar of what they've spent, some of it from home equity loans, thanks to rapidly rising house prices.

But now the Nowakowskis are throwing in the trowel.(Read More)

Source: Washington Post

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Millions face squeeze on mortgages

Many borrowers can expect large payment increases as interest rates reset

Millions of Americans who stretched themselves financially to buy homes face a painful adjustment -- some could even lose their houses -- as monthly payments on adjustable-rate mortgages are reset higher.(Read More)

Source: Baltimore Sun

Agents Falling Short On Disclosure

A lawsuit in Silver Spring, Maryland is focusing fresh light on a growing problem: Real estate agents are failing to disclose whom they represent in transactions -- even where state laws require them to do so in writing at their first substantive meeting with a potential client. (Read More)

Source: Washington Post

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Good Accountant, a Real Estate Investor's Ally

Q: I own a four-unit rental building and am trying to understand the tax rules so that I can prepare my tax return. I would prefer to use one of the tax services on the Internet, rather than pay for an accountant. Can you provide me with the basics? (Read More)

Source: Washington Post

Rise in late mortgage payments tied to hurricanes

Late mortgage payments climbed to a 2 1/2 -year high in the final quarter of 2005 as Gulf Coast homeowners struggled with fallout from the hurricanes and lofty energy prices along with rising interest rates squeezed the budgets of others across the country. (Read More)

Source: Baltimore Sun

Monday, March 20, 2006

Research facts when shopping for house

Getting Started

Finding your dream home is exciting, especially if you're a first-time buyer. But in today's real estate market, it pays to shelve your emotions and look hard at the facts.(Read More)

Source: Baltimore Sun

Buyer beware of those first impressions

It's easy to be won over by a well-staged house, but keep an eye out for the tip-offs of potentially costly problems, such as drafty windows, cracked walls and wavy siding. (Read More)

Source: The Seattle Times: Real Estate

Mortgage rate falls slightly

Rates on 30-year mortgages, which had jumped to the highest level in 2 1/2 years, edged down this week to an average 6.34 percent. (Read More)

Source: Baltimore Sun

Professional house flippers are making hay with their homes

By Carol Lloyd

A few years back, when I was shopping for a home, I met an interesting family who were a walking embodiment of the special status afforded homeowners. We met at the open house of a ramshackle Victorian in Alameda with a sprawling backyard on a tree-canopied... (Read More)

Source: SFGate: Surreal Estate

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Revealing too much worries buyer

A reader writes: "In shopping for a home, how much should I tell my real-estate agent about myself and my financial situation? For example, should I reveal..." (Read More)

Source: The Seattle Times: Real Estate

Americans optimistic over housing prices

Americans remain confident that housing values will continue to flourish and that the high-flying U.S. market will come in for a smooth... (Read More)

Source: The Seattle Times: Real Estate

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Perfect Real Estate Agent, Do they exist?

When selecting a real estate agent, you’ll have questions, which will need decisive answers. Finding the best agent that works for your desires may be difficult as all agents work differently. Some simple questions and facts can be very helpful. Real estate agents are nothing more than salespeople, who would like to sell you a home. As in purchasing a car there are things you’ll need to ask about. Before choosing on a real estate agent to work with, you should check out a few. An agent’s personality is very important. You want to be able to get easily along with the agent. You will need to talk with this person almost every day until you close on your purchase or sale. You should make sure this person is someone who you would like to speak with every day. You must be capable of knowing within the first few moments of talking with the agent whether this is the person for you. Pick someone who is prepared to work for and value the wishes of your entire family. When you have chosen the areas you’d prefer to live in, try to find someone who lives or works in the area that you are looking. An agent from the area will likely be more in tune with the neighborhood and can explain the best about benefits of the neighborhood to you. Make clear to the agent you choose what you are seeking in a home. Pay attention to what the they have to tell you. (Read More)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Agent isn't necessary to prepare sale forms

A reader writes: "If a buyer and seller don't want to use a real-estate agent, how can they prepare documents and where can they do it? Can they prepare the..." (Read More)

Source: The Seattle Times: Real Estate

To many, house buy is impossible dream

Purchasing a home in Maryland has become so expensive that it is beyond the buying power of the average earner

Housing prices have risen so much faster than wages in Maryland that the average home is out of reach of the average worker -- and, in many cases, even two-earner families. (Read More)

Source: Baltimore Sun

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Agent isn't necessary to prepare sale forms

A reader writes: "If a buyer and seller don't want to use a real-estate agent, how can they prepare documents and where can they do it? Can they prepare the..." (Read More)

Source: The Seattle Times: Home Forum

What Explains the 'Aha' Moment

Buyers often unknowingly seek out spaces that are physically evocative of havens from their childhood, psychologists say. (Read More)

Source: NY Times

Friday, March 10, 2006

30-year mortgages highest since '02

Rates on 30-year mortgages jumped to the highest level in 3 1/2 years this week, driven higher by inflation worries in financial markets. (Read More)

Source: Baltimore Sun

Thursday, March 09, 2006

That Zillow ‘zestimate’ isn’t worth losing any zzz’s over

By now, chances are you've been to and may have concluded that the "zestimate" of your home's value isn't — make that izn't — worth the time it took to type in its street address. (Read More) Source: LA Times

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Agents feel squeezed by new sites

Real-estate companies like Redfin and Zillow, coupled with federal support for discount brokers, are challenging traditional full-service agents. (Read the full article) S0urce: The Seattle Times

Homeowners Expect Prices to Keep Rising

Americans remain largely optimistic that home values will keep rising in the next few years, but some are concerned that they won't be able to keep up with their mortgage payments, according to a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll. (Read the full article) Source: LA Times

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Site can help gauge value of house

In the market to buy or sell? offers estimate of home's worth. Finally, help for those puzzled why a house on the Boardwalk costs so much more than the one right around the corner on Mediterranean Avenue. (Read the full article) Source: Baltimore Sun

Saturday, March 04, 2006

30-year mortgage rate falls again

Rates on 30-year mortgages edged down slightly this week, the second consecutive decline, according to a nationwide survey of rates. (Read more) Source: Baltimore Sun

Mortgage competition can be unsettling

When you get a mortgage rate quote or a preapproval, you probably assume that your inquiry with the lender is confidential, right? (Read More) Source: Baltimore Sun

Friday, March 03, 2006

Home Values Nationwide Up 13% in 4th Quarter

In an indication that the recent slowdown of home sales has yet to affect prices, the average U.S. house continued to gain value through the end of 2005, posting a fourth-quarter increase of nearly 13 percent from the fourth quarter of 2004, according to a government report released yesterday. (Read the full article) Source: Washington Post

Almost-New Homes Hurt Sales of Brand-New Ones

Home builders figured they'd face cooling demand this year. But they're also facing another challenge: competing against some of their most recent customers. Speculators, whose robust purchases made 2005 one of the best years for new-home sales, have reined in their buying and started selling amid signs of a housing slowdown. The influx of their almost-new homes is making it harder for builders to sell brand-new ones. (Read the full article) Source: LA Times

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Don't Fear the Bubble That Bursts

By David Leonhardt The real estate slump of 2006 offers a chance to puncture the myth that we should all be rooting for high house prices. (Read the Article) Source NY Times

Feeling Settled? Must Be Time to Move

By TERI KARUSH ROGERS GIVEN the choice, many people refuse to submit to the agonies of moving until boxed in by romantic, reproductive or professional circumstances. But the opposite is true for serial movers, who eagerly hop back on the open-house circuit even before the aroma of fresh paint and polyurethane begins to fade — that is, if they ever stopped looking in the first place. (Read the full article) Source: NY Times