In an effort to help responsible homeowners who owe more on their mortgage than the value of their property, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today will begin providing an additional refinancing option for underwater borrowers. Originally announced in March, this enhancement of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) refinance program will offer certain ‘underwater’ non-FHA borrowers who are current on their existing mortgage and whose lien holders agree to write off at least 10% of the unpaid principal balance...Continue Reading!
In The News Category
A growing number of homeowners are finding out what it means to be a landlord after failing to sell their homes in today’s economy. With home prices down nationwide, many don’t want to take a huge loss when they decide to move. They want to wait to see whether they can rebuild their equity—so they rent. “People just really don’t want to be landlords, and they really have no choice,” said Dennis Dickstein, a Realtor at Real Estate One in Farmington...Continue Reading!
Mortgage rates moved higher this week, with the average conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate climbing to 4.58%, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.37 discount and origination points. To see mortgage rates in your area, go to http://www.bankrate.com/funnel/mortgages/. The average 15-year fixed mortgage inched up to 4.06%, and the larger jumbo 30-year fixed rate rose to 5.23%. Adjustable rate mortgages were both up this week, with the average 5-year ARM jumping to 3.91%...Continue Reading!
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it is making approximately $110 million in grants available to help eliminate dangerous lead-based paint from lower income homes and to protect young children from lead poisoning. The grants to states and local governments are being offered through HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Programs. “These grants are critical for states, counties and cities who are on the front lines of protecting our children from dangerous lead...Continue Reading!
Most sellers have an emotional connection to their home and feel it deserves top dollar when sold. Everyone naturally wants to get the most money for his or her product, but "sellers must not be hasty with this all-important decision," cautions real estate expert Robert Jenson, a CEO of a luxury Las Vegas real estate purveyor. "The most common mistake that causes sellers to get less than they hope for is listing the sale price...Continue Reading!
Pending home sales in Broward County, the county seat of Fort Lauderdale, rose 17% in August compared to August 2009, but were flat with July 2010 figures. Sales rose from 6,705 to 7,845 when compared to the year-ago figure, according to the Miami Association of Realtors and the Southeast Florida Multiple Listing Service (SEFMLS). The figure includes single-family homes and condominiums. Pending sales were up just 0.19% when compared to July figures. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has...Continue Reading!
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced that it intends to make modifications to its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) product, a reverse mortgage loan insured by the federal government, to make it more attractive and cost effective for older homeowners seeking to tap their home equity to cover living expenses and health care costs, according to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. A HECM is a reverse mortgage that is insured by the FHA. It is designed to enable elderly homeowners...Continue Reading!
The Lake County, Fla., home Paul Fallman shares with his wife and two daughters has 4,000 square feet of living space. Yet his electric bills have averaged just $180 a month so far this year, despite record-low winter temperatures and close-to-record summer highs. His natural-gas bill for two tankless water heaters and a fireplace averages $25 a month. “My focus with this house was energy-efficiency,” says Fallman, owner of Fallman Design & Construction in Clermont, Fla. “It’s so easy to do. It’s...Continue Reading!
As we exit the era of the McMansion and begin to embrace the concept of the “big-enough” home, we need to rethink some of our interior-design ideas. Whether your home is a house, condo or apartment, if you’re making do with reduced square-footage, you’re likely wondering how to make boxy rooms look bigger and function effectively. A new design guide on HGTV showcases a variety of small spaces, showing how designers use color, furniture placement, special installations and other devices to create...Continue Reading!
New homeowners oftentimes stretch themselves financially when having to pay the initial costs that come with purchasing a home. While it is important to focus on these preliminary expenses, homeowners must be aware of the financial requirements that come with maintaining the home. Here, Dan Steward, President, Pillar To Post discusses how homeowners can effectively budget for home maintenance. Enthusiastic new home buyers often stretch financially to cover a home’s initial deposit, closing costs and any cosmetic touchups. However, buyers frequently focus...Continue Reading!