Dympna Fay-Hart
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Real Estate

Top 10 Best, Worst States for Retirees’ Wallets

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 13, 2017 - 11:00pm

Which states offer retirees the most bang for their buck?

Categories: Real Estate

Understanding Energy Costs

RisMedia Consumer News - September 13, 2017 - 2:00pm

I was recently contacted by the Consumer Energy Alliance, which provides consumers with unbiased information on U.S. and global energy issues. Its affiliates represent sectors from the energy industry, academia, small businesses, conservation groups to travel-related industries.

The CEA recently released a sweeping study of energy consumption across the country, and analyzed various regions, states, even major municipalities promoting ideas to enhance efficiency and preserve an uninterrupted flow of energy based on expected future population shifts.

To the end consumer, the report paints a fascinating picture of who is paying what for their energy, and why it costs so much, or, in some regions, so little.

According to the CEA study, the average mid-continent family currently enjoys some of the lowest electricity costs in the nation. While these low costs are attributable to the region’s access to natural resources and booming energy production, the report suggests that could end in only a few years unless new infrastructure and pipeline
projects are hastily approved.

This planning is especially important, as some of the nation’s poorest communities like Camden, Ark.; Opelousas, La.; Deming, N.M.; Commerce, Okla.; and San Benito, Texas, dot the mid-continent region. The average household income in these communities is $24,857—55.43 percent less than the national average, the CEA report states.

Even small increases in energy prices could have a devastating effect on families in the mid-continent region where median household incomes are $10,000 to $25,000 less than the national average. In this region, the CEA reported that low-income households pay roughly 22 percent of after-tax income on residential utility bills and gasoline.

While most mid-continent families currently pay, on average, a rate roughly 9 percent lower than the national average of 12.90 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), it is also home to states like Texas, where the average monthly bill is 17 percent higher than the national average.

In addition, the study found:

  • The bottom 20 percent of earners spend almost 10 percent of their income solely on electricity—more than seven times what the top 20 percent pays.
  • Of those low-income earners that spend 10 percent of their income on power bills, half are African-American families.
  • The average household in the U.S. currently pays 13 cents per KwH using, on average, 901 KwH per month totaling $116 in electricity bills. That represents almost one-fifth (4.78 percent) of the average income of the poorest mid-continent families.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Understanding Energy Costs appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Ex-Husband Charged in Houston Agent’s Murder

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 12, 2017 - 11:00pm

Police say the body has been found of a Houston real estate agent who had gone missing just hours before Hurricane Harvey struck. 

Categories: Real Estate

Showings Don’t Stop Even for an Accepted Offer

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 12, 2017 - 11:00pm

Prepare your sellers for the reality of an accepted offer and what happens next if another buyer becomes interested.  

Categories: Real Estate

The Commercial Sector Braces for a Slowdown

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 12, 2017 - 11:00pm

Investors are shifting away from larger markets in favor of smaller ones. 

Categories: Real Estate

Will Entire Single-Family Rental Communities Become a Thing?

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 12, 2017 - 11:00pm

A growing number of renters is sparking an entire community of 250 single-family detached homes for lease.

Categories: Real Estate

Mortgage Applications Surge on Lower Rates

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 12, 2017 - 11:00pm

Home buyers and homeowners are taking advantage of some of the lowest interest rates in a year. 

Categories: Real Estate

Infographic: 5 Down Payment Savings Tips

RisMedia - September 12, 2017 - 2:01pm

Sixty percent of homebuyers put 6 percent, or roughly $15,500, down on a median-priced house, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Work toward that goal with these tips:

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Infographic: 5 Down Payment Savings Tips appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Learning the ABCs of FICO

RisMedia - September 12, 2017 - 2:00pm

Most people don’t think too much about their FICO scores until they want to get a loan. No matter the type of loan you want—mortgage, new car—the higher your FICO score, the more likely you’ll be approved.

Understanding the five factors that make up your scores can be the first step toward improving them. Financial experts at the Motley Fool break down where your scores come from and suggest a few ways to improve them.

Know Where Your FICO Score Comes From

Payment History – Thirty-five percent of your score is determined by whether you pay your bills on time every month.

Credit Utilization Ratio – Thirty percent reflects your credit utilization ratio—the percentage of available credit you’re using. Using less than 30 percent of your available credit can help your credit score.

Length of Credit History – Fifteen percent reflects the length of your credit history. Paying bills consistently over time can definitely work in your favor.

New Accounts – Ten percent of your score is based on the number of accounts you open. Opening too many new accounts simultaneously suggests you’re highly reliant on borrowing to keep up with your expenses.

Credit Mix – Ten percent reflects the types of accounts you have. Credit bureaus make a distinction between your credit card accounts versus student loans, car loans, and mortgages.

Three Ways to Improve Your FICO

Pay off a chunk of your balance. If you carry a balance, pay off as much as you can, even if it means you must work a second job or sell off stuff you no longer need or use.

Ask for a raise in credit limit. If you’ve paid your bills consistently, this may not be difficult to get—and since your credit utilization ratio carries significant weight, that should help to improve your overall score.

Correct reporting errors. It’s estimated that 20 percent of credit reports contain errors. If you spot one on yours—such as an error in the amount you owe or a paid-off account not shown—getting it corrected will almost certainly boost your score. Review your FICO score for free once each year to make sure it’s accurate.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Learning the ABCs of FICO appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

YouTube’s Redesign Will Make Your Videos Look Better

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 11, 2017 - 11:00pm

Updates to the 12-year-old platform will soon mean no more black bars on the sides of your vertical smartphone videos. Learn what other features...

Categories: Real Estate

What ‘Great Bones’ Really Means

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 11, 2017 - 11:00pm

You’ve probably heard the phrase a million times. But what do we really mean when we say a house has great bones?

Categories: Real Estate

Scammers Harm Hurricane Rebuilding Efforts

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 11, 2017 - 11:00pm

Now that reconstruction is beginning following two storms’ massive paths of destruction through Texas and Florida, it's time to issue a...

Categories: Real Estate

The Toughest Home Buyers You’ll Encounter

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 11, 2017 - 11:00pm

Some home shoppers are a joy to work with and others will make you want to scream. Here are three types to watch out for.

Categories: Real Estate

Don’t Let Sellers Get Overconfident

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 11, 2017 - 11:00pm

A severe inventory shortage may be allowing your clients to believe selling their homes will be quick and easy.

Categories: Real Estate

‘Granny Flats’ Are Finding a Bigger Purpose

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 11, 2017 - 11:00pm

Some hope changing laws to allow more homeowners to build accessory dwelling units will increase property values and alleviate housing shortages...

Categories: Real Estate

Where Homes Are Selling the Fastest

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 11, 2017 - 11:00pm

We all know most homes sold quickly this summer, but this map offers a visual of the average time it’s taking to complete transactions...

Categories: Real Estate

A Sign That More Housing Inventory Is Coming

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 10, 2017 - 11:00pm

A new survey suggests that homeowners who have decided to stay put in their current properties may soon be ready for a move.

Categories: Real Estate

Hurricane Irma Tests Florida Building Codes

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 10, 2017 - 11:00pm

State officials implemented the nation’s toughest standards for new developments after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. But they may need to...

Categories: Real Estate

More Buyers Use Co-Borrowers on Mortgages

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 10, 2017 - 11:00pm

Dozens of programs and private companies are emerging to act as co-borrowers for consumers by offering a down payment in return for a share of...

Categories: Real Estate

Houston REALTORS® Help Harvey Victims Find Homes

NAR Daily News Magazine - September 10, 2017 - 11:00pm

The Houston Association of REALTORS® has launched a housing section on its website to help victims of Hurricane Harvey find a temporary place...

Categories: Real Estate