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Real Estate

Home Flipping Flies to 11-Year High

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 8, 2018 - 1:00am

Home flips may be increasing, but economists say they’re hardly a frenzy. Find out where flipping is gaining the most traction lately...

Categories: Real Estate

Student Housing Just Got a Jolt

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 8, 2018 - 1:00am

After a slowdown in 2017, the student housing sector is luring more investors again. 

Categories: Real Estate

Help One Finalist Become a 30 Under 30

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 7, 2018 - 1:00am

Web Choice Award voting is open now through noon CDT on Friday, March 23. Log in and "like" your favorite candidate to cast your vote....

Categories: Real Estate

Fannie Gives Foreclosure Listings a Makeover

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 7, 2018 - 1:00am

The mortgage giant has teamed up with national real estate photography firm VHT Studios to showcase foreclosed properties with...

Categories: Real Estate

Fight for Flood Insurance Grows Dire as Sea Levels Rise

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 7, 2018 - 1:00am

A REALTOR® in St. Petersburg, Fla., where flooding is a near-constant threat, delivers an impassioned plea to speed up a long-term...

Categories: Real Estate

Meet the 2018 30 Under 30 Finalists

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 7, 2018 - 1:00am

REALTOR® Magazine is proud to introduce 50 young real estate entrepreneurs who are making a mark on the industry. Learn how you can help one...

Categories: Real Estate

1M Homeowners Missed Refinance Opportunity

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 7, 2018 - 1:00am

But mortgage borrowers who didn’t take advantage of lower interest rates before recent hikes may still have a chance to save money.

Categories: Real Estate

Survey: Owners Worried, Buyers Excited

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 7, 2018 - 1:00am

Would-be sellers reveal their fears about the current state of the housing market, while buyers see opportunity in an improved economy, according...

Categories: Real Estate

NAR: Strong Health Insurance Rule Needs Improvement

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 6, 2018 - 1:00am

The Department of Labor's proposal to let more associations offer health plans to their members is a positive step forward, but changes are...

Categories: Real Estate

Housing Markets Need Landlords to Sell

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 6, 2018 - 1:00am

Landlords own thousands of single-family homes across the U.S. With shortages abounding, some are calling on those owners to start selling.

Categories: Real Estate

4 Activities That Waste Your Time

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 6, 2018 - 1:00am

Want to get the most out of your workday and maximize productivity? Be aware of these menial time suckers.

Categories: Real Estate

Third REALTOR® Lost Child in Fla. Shooting

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 6, 2018 - 1:00am

Mitchell Dworet, a sales associate with Skye Louis Realty in Coconut Creek, Fla., lost his 17-year-old son, Nicholas, in the massacre at Marjory...

Categories: Real Estate

Home Features First-Time Buyers Choose

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 6, 2018 - 1:00am

Highlight these amenities in your home listings. New buyers say they’re essential. 

Categories: Real Estate

Rising Rates Top Commercial Concerns

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 6, 2018 - 1:00am

Commercial real estate executives say this year’s increase in interest rates is what has them the most worried about the impact to...

Categories: Real Estate

The Necessary Income For Buying in 15 Cities

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 6, 2018 - 1:00am

View a chart to see the median salary needed to purchase a home in some of the 15 largest cities. 

Categories: Real Estate

Consumer Confidence Leaps

RisMedia Consumer News - March 5, 2018 - 4:04pm

Consumer confidence leapt in February, posting a 130.8 reading in the latest Consumer Confidence Index® from The Conference Board. The Expectations reading of the Index rose to 109.7, while the Present Situation reading rose to 162.4. January’s reading was 124.3.

“Consumer confidence improved to its highest level since 2000 (Nov. 2000, 132.6) after a modest increase in January,” said Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, in a statement. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was more favorable this month, with the labor force the main driver. Despite the recent stock market volatility, consumers expressed greater optimism about short-term prospects for business and labor market conditions, as well as their financial prospects. Overall, consumers remain quite confident that the economy will continue expanding at a strong pace in the months ahead.”

The percentage of consumers who believe business conditions are “good,” as defined by the Index, increased from 35.0 percent in January to 35.8 percent in February; the percentage of those who believe business conditions are “bad” decreased from 13.0 percent in January to 10.8 percent in February. The percentage of those who expect business conditions to improve increased from 21.5 percent in January to 25.8 percent in February; the percentage of those who expect business conditions to worsen decreased from 9.8 percent in January to 9.4 percent in February.

The percentage of consumers who believe jobs are “plentiful” increased from 37.2 percent in January to 39.4 percent in February, according to the Index; the percentage of those who believe jobs are “hard to get” decreased from 16.3 percent in January to 14.7 percent in February. The percentage of those who expect more jobs in the coming months increased from 18.7 percent in January to 21.6 percent in February; the percentage of those who expect less jobs in the coming months decreased from 12.5 percent in January to 11.9 percent in February.

The percentage of consumers who expect higher incomes increased from 20.6 percent in January to 23.8 percent in February; the percentage of those who expect a decrease also increased, from 7.9 percent in January to 8.6 percent in February.

Source: The Conference Board

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

The post Consumer Confidence Leaps appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Tax Scammers Use Refund Ruse

RisMedia Consumer News - March 5, 2018 - 4:03pm

(TNS)—Wait, what? You didn’t file your income tax return yet, but, suddenly, somehow, you spotted a bunch of money in your bank account from a refund?

Seriously?

Believe it or not, criminals are using real bank accounts in a fast-spreading scam that could gain more traction as we move into prime refund season, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

“It’s super sophisticated,” says Luis Garcia, a spokesperson for the IRS in Detroit. “If you haven’t filed your taxes—especially if you’re not expecting a refund—and money shows up in your account, don’t touch it.”

Last summer, the IRS reported that cybercriminals had been targeting tax professionals. According to the IRS, 177 tax professionals or firms reported data thefts involving client information relating to thousands of tax filers from January through May 2017. Much of that theft started with a phishing email sent to the tax professional posing as a potential client to gain access to the professional’s computer systems and collect the personal information of existing clients.

After stealing the data from tax professionals, criminals could have your bank account number if you requested direct deposit of a refund earlier.

Now, the crooks who file fake tax returns to steal refund cash could be giving the IRS your bank account information for direct deposit of fraudulent refunds.

How do the crooks then get the cash?

One scheme includes an automated call that claims that you’re a willing participant in tax fraud and demands that you return the money. Of course, if you follow their directions, you’re handing the money over to the crooks.

Garcia says some people could be caught off guard by such calls, especially when they suddenly spot a deposit from the U.S. Treasury in their account.

“It’s jarring when somebody calls you and they know your bank account,” Garcia says.

The IRS began issuing tax refunds as of Feb. 27 for many early filers who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit, so the ID thieves who filed fake returns claiming those credits will be looking to collect soon, if they used your bank account for direct deposit.

As part of the crackdown on tax-related ID fraud, the IRS has been taking extra steps to avoid depositing refunds onto suspicious prepaid cards. That’s why the scam could involve a new twist.

After the money hits your account, a con artist might pose as a debt collection official working on behalf of the IRS. The crook might say the refund was deposited in error and they ask the taxpayer to forward the money to their collection agency.

Don’t do it.

Or a robocall claims to be from the IRS and threatens the person with an arrest warrant unless refund money is turned over. Some calls talk about “blacklisting” the Social Security number of the real taxpayer, if the taxpayer doesn’t follow the appropriate steps to return the refund cash.

Don’t do it.

“This isn’t your refund,” Garcia says. “You’re the victim of tax fraud. But don’t complicate things by not returning that money to the IRS—not the scammers.”

What should you do? Contact your bank. Don’t plan to spend the money. Follow the proper steps to return the fraudulent refund to the IRS.

Some consumers have reported that their bank accounts ended up being frozen as banks try to deal with this odd criminal twist. Your account could have to be closed to prevent fraudsters from gaining access.

The IRS said taxpayers who receive an erroneous refund should contact the Automated Clearing House department of their bank. The bank would return the erroneous refund directly to the IRS.

The taxpayer should contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 for an individual filer or 800-829-4933 for a business.

You’re going to want to file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit when you file your own tax return to state that you were a victim of a tax preparer data breach. Once a victimized taxpayer tries to file his or her own return electronically, they may fear that their tax return will be rejected because a 2017 return bearing their Social Security number has already been filed.

Tax fraud remains a threat, even though the IRS said the number of tax returns with confirmed identity theft declined by 32 percent to 597,000 returns in 2017, compared with 883,000 returns in 2016.

A spokesperson from Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, said its fraud detection program includes providing suspicious activity reports to the IRS and validating internet protocol addresses to block high-risk transactions from suspect geographies.

But experts say cybercriminals are always developing new lines of attack, like the direct deposit scam. So if you’re hit, it’s important to take action.

The IRS outlines the steps to take to return an erroneous refund in its “Tax Topic Number 161 – Returning an Erroneous Refund.” See www.irs.gov.

Many times, scammers likely could try to use direct deposit. But some could have a fraudulent refund check sent to your home. They’re hoping you cash it—and don’t spend it—and then hand over the money. Or maybe they’re planning to steal that check out of your mailbox.

The steps for returning an uncashed check include writing “Void” on the back of the check where you’d sign it. The IRS wants you to submit the check immediately but no later than 21 days to the appropriate IRS location listed online. The IRS lists 10 possible locations for where you’d mail that erroneous check.

You will want to include a note saying that you’re returning an erroneous refund check and give a short reason.

And what if you’ve cashed an erroneous refund check?

You will need to send a personal check or money order to the IRS. Make sure to write on the check or money order: “Payment of Erroneous Refund” and the tax period for which the refund was issued.

If you don’t act promptly to repay an erroneous refund, the IRS could charge interest on the money.

©2018 Detroit Free Press

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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

The post Tax Scammers Use Refund Ruse appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Foreign Buyers Coming to U.S. Are Changing

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 5, 2018 - 1:00am

The share of buyers from China has decreased, but other countries are quickly filling the gap to own real estate in the U.S.

Categories: Real Estate

Oscar Nominee Prompts “Ebbing, Mo.” Home Searches

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 5, 2018 - 1:00am

The Academy Award-nominated movie “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” has some intrigued about the fictional backdrop for the...

Categories: Real Estate

Manufactured Homes to Ease Housing Shortages?

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 5, 2018 - 1:00am

The federal government may increasingly be eyeing manufactured housing as one potential solution to ease shortages of affordable homes across the...

Categories: Real Estate