The Obama administration is offering some relief to homeowners who have government-backed mortgages. Under a program President Barack Obama unveiledTuesday, the government would cut the fees it charges to insure those borrowers.
The idea is that lower fees would persuade millions to refinance their loans while interest rates are near record lows. It's the administration's latest attempt to minimize the damage from the foreclosure crisis and help more people keep their homes.
Check out the following questions and answers and if refinancing sounds right for you call me and I can put you in touch with the right people. 425-830-4620
A pressing question has always been, “How does spending the extra money on energy-efficient products help the value of my home”? It is nice to lower heating bills, but how long does it take to recoup the expense of some of these products?
There is now a way to capture these improvements and assign them a value in an appraisal. Real estate appraisers finally have a new form that helps standardize the way that energy efficient features are included in their reports. Until now, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration used a form that centered on maintaining sound lending practices but did not have a way to capture what energy-efficiency improvements contributed to the value of a home. Including a narrative of any green features in a description box was not always viewed by the lending institution.
NWMLS data of new homes sold from Sept 2007 through February 2010 comparing homes that sold with an environmental certification and those without a certification. According to the collected data, environmentally certified homes in Seattle sold for 9.2 percent more per square foot in 24 percent less time and make up 34 percent of the market.
Homes located within walking distance of amenities such as schools, parks and shopping aren’t only more convenient for their owners, often they’re also worth more than homes in neighborhoods where driving is the rule, according to a study released last month. The report, “Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Housing Values in U.S. Cities,” was commissioned by CEOs for Cities, a national network of urban leaders from the civic, business, academic and philanthropic sectors.
Homes represent the bulk of even a moderately affluent pre-retiree’s wealth, beyond pension and Social Security income. According to research by the Society of Actuaries, only about 20% of homeowners plan to use their home equity to help finance retirement. Of those who do, few have thought about tapping their home's value and simply plan to sell it to generate retirement money.
Pulling money out of your home is often not advised if the money is needed for basic living expenses. Lenders also need to be sure you’ll be able to repay the loan. One retirement-friendly use of home-equity loan funds is remodeling, to make your home “senior-friendly” so you can continue living there as you get older.
As the seasons change, once again it's time to perform some home maintenance. Here are 10 yearly tasks that will help keep your household in working order when the temperatures drop.
Clean Gutters: Do so frequently. Clogged gutters can result in standing water and roof damage. Plus, if you clean them frequently, you're less likely to have to deal with decomposing leaves.
Mow and trim: It seems counter intuitive, but Fall is a wonderful time to both fertilize and reseed your lawn. A maintained lawn improves a home's value and saleability. Use this time to trim shrubs and grass one last time so that your yard stands out, even in a dormant season.
Prune trees: With Winter comes ice. With ice comes broken limbs. Take advantage of nice weather and cut back or remove precarious limbs. It only takes one heavy snow or ice to weigh down a limb and damage property.
By the end of the year, financial-services-technology firm Fiserv expects housing prices to stabilize in two-thirds of metropolitan areas, according to the latest analysis of home prices in 380 U.S. markets -- based on the Fiserv Case-Shiller Indexes -- released Tuesday. That number will increase to 95% of all metro areas by the first quarter of 2013. "Relative to family income levels, the average U.S. home is now only 5% more expensive than it was in 2000," David Stiff, Fiserv's chief economist, tells DailyFinance.
By the end of the year, financial-services-technology firm Fiserv expects housing prices to stabilize in two-thirds of metropolitan areas, according to the latest analysis of home prices in 380 U.S. markets -- based on the Fiserv Case-Shiller Indexes -- released Tuesday. That number will increase to 95% of all metro areas by the first quarter of 2013.
Still the focal point of many interior living spaces, the latest fireplaces look anything but traditional. Although their inner workings are largely standardized ― most new models contain prefabricated fireboxes ― the front can be much more expressive.
As long as you follow building codes regulating the distance that combustible materials must be from the firebox opening and the distance a mantel shelf can project from the wall, you are free to decide how you trim out, or decorate, the area around the firebox. From glass and steel to tile and stone, the material options are broad and enchanting. So read on and let the following examples inspire you to curl up by the fire.
Get insider secrets to avoid costly blunders on the most important investment of your life. We've brought together some of the top real estate experts to compile the definitive list of the biggest mistakes we all make when buying and selling our homes. Remember that you are buying the house, not the things inside it, so make sure you see beyond the decorations and look at the bones of the home. Focus on the floor plan and the square footage. You also might want to measure the dimensions and graph out how that's going to work with your belongings...
Moving is complicated. It involves myriad activities and tasks that need to be coordinated to bring it all together. Without a plan, you will not have a full sense of what you need to accomplish, what help you will need, and how you will go forward to get everything done.
Hiring a moving company can be a substantial part of your moving budget. If you are moving from a large residence or moving a long distance, your moving services will likely cost thousands of dollars. Understand how these costs fit into your overall budget, and keep in mind other fees such as traveling to your new home, auto transport, temporary living expenses, insurance, etc.
The minimum borrower FICO score will be raised although the final number has not yet been determined. (rumor is the min score will be 640 up from 620) The agency is studying whether new FICO minimums should be accompanied by changes in other underwriting criteria for lower down payment loans. The up-front cash that a borrower will be required to bring to the table for an FHA-backed loan will also be increased to make sure that borrowers have "skin in the game.
President Obama signed the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 into law today. The legislation greatly expands the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit by making more first time homebuyers eligible for the credit and now includes homebuyers that are not first time homebuyers. The current law is extended until April 30, 2010. Buyers have until that date to have a signed purchase agreement. There is an additional 60 day grace period to complete the financing.