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Should Bubble Fears Be Renewed?

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 2, 2017 - 11:00pm

Home prices are accelerating faster than general inflation. Are some markets becoming overheated? The Urban Institute weighs in. 

Categories: Real Estate

Man Attacks Agent With a Rake

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 2, 2017 - 11:00pm

Police have in custody a man who attacked a real estate agent who had confronted him about squatting on a property. 

Categories: Real Estate

Mortgage Rates Mostly Flat This Week

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 2, 2017 - 11:00pm

Mortgage rates mostly held steady under 4 percent after last week’s sizable jump. 

Categories: Real Estate

9 Ways to Save for a Down Payment

RisMedia - November 2, 2017 - 2:05pm

(TNS)—You’ve found the perfect house. Interest rates are still low. There’s just one thing standing between you and your dream home: a down payment.

Don’t abandon your homeownership dreams just yet. Here are nine ways to come up with the cash for your new home.

Pay Off Your Credit Cards
Paying bills will help in your hunt for down payment money. When you carry a credit card balance, the ever-accumulating interest charges mean more of your money goes to the card company each month. Keep that cash for yourself by cutting your debt load.

With the “avalanche” method, you prioritize your debts and pay the most on the one with the highest interest rate. Once that’s paid, shift your focus to the next highest rate and so on. You’ll get the most money-sucking credit card bills out of the way more quickly, freeing up more of your income to go toward building your savings.

Ladder CDs to Boost Savings
Once you have a few extra bucks, put it to work making more money for you. Certificates of deposit are low-risk and relatively accessible. But when interest rates are low, the return isn’t always what a saver hopes. You can maximize the earning power of CDs by opening different certificates at varying maturity dates.

For example, instead of buying one big CD, spread your money into three-month, six-month and one-year certificates. Known as laddering, this gives you flexibility to adjust your savings as rates change. Laddering allows you to lock in when rates are high and when rates are not so good. The process keeps you from being stuck for too long with low earnings.

Use Special Programs
There are many programs for homebuyers struggling to save for a down payment, especially for first-time homebuyers. Borrowers in a wide range of incomes, locales and professional groups may have access to aid from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored offices that buy mortgages and package them as investments. Various nonprofit and community groups also lend a hand to buyers struggling to put money down on a home. And don’t forget about assistance from state agencies.

Tap Your IRA
If you’re looking to buy your first home, let the IRS help. Tax laws allow you to use up to $10,000 in IRA funds as a down payment if you’ve never owned a house. If you’re married and you both are first-time buyers, you each can pull from your retirement accounts, meaning a potential $20,000 down payment.

Even better is the IRS definition of “first-time homebuyer.” Technically, you don’t have to be purchasing your very first home. You qualify under the tax rules as long as you (or your spouse) did not own a principal residence at any time during the two years prior to the purchase of the new home. In these instances, Uncle Sam waives the penalty for early withdrawal, but you may owe tax on the money, depending on the type of IRA.

Get a Gift
Aunt Edna always liked you best. Take advantage of that favored family status and ask her to make a present of your down payment. Tax law allows gifts of several thousand dollars a year to be bestowed without tax consequences to either the giver or recipient. The gift-exclusion amount is $14,000 for 2017 and is adjusted annually for inflation.

The gift exclusion isn’t limited to relatives. The monetary present can be from anyone, so track down a well-off friend now.

Ask for a Raise
No luck finding a benefactor? Then maybe it’s time to ask your boss for more money. Just make sure you do your homework beforehand and base your request for a salary increase on your accomplishments rather than your needs.

Get a Second Job
Boss turned down your request for a raise? Moonlighting could help you earn the extra money. This option makes the most sense for those who are young and not yet fully established in their professional lives.

Look for Lost Money
Do you have any money stashed somewhere? Around $23.5 billion worth of matured savings bonds remains unredeemed, according to the Treasury Department, ignored by owners and not earning a penny of interest. Make sure your bonds and other investments are still adding to your net worth.

You could also have money languishing in an old bank account somewhere. You can file a claim with the Treasury to claim lost, stolen or destroyed savings bonds, or check the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators to see if you have any missing money.

Sell Unwanted Items
You likely have some used furniture you no longer use or old clothes that are no longer in style. Sell it to make a few more bucks to use for your down payment.

You can sell your items on sites like Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and Amazon to turn your trash into someone else’s treasure.

©2017 Bankrate.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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

The post 9 Ways to Save for a Down Payment appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

A Plan to Build on REALTOR® Party Successes

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 1, 2017 - 11:00pm

A National Association of REALTORS® presidential advisory group has proposed a $25 increase in the REALTOR® Party...

Categories: Real Estate

Could Incentives Turn NIMBYism on its Head?

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 1, 2017 - 11:00pm

In a new partnership with a consumer research firm, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun explores how new approaches to real estate development might...

Categories: Real Estate

Tax Reform Bill Would Cap MID for New Mortgages

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 1, 2017 - 11:00pm

The House Republican leadership released its tax reform bill, and REALTORS® say it amounts to a tax hike on middle-class homeowners.

Categories: Real Estate

REALTORS® Work to Build Up Chicago’s Southwest Side

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 1, 2017 - 11:00pm

The REALTORS® Volunteer Build, an annual event that traditionally kicks off the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, returns to the city where...

Categories: Real Estate

Luxury Market Sees Even Higher Prices

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 31, 2017 - 11:00pm

It's not just entry-level home buyers who are feeling the crunch. Home shoppers in the luxury market are having a tougher time finding a home...

Categories: Real Estate

NAR: Home Prices Accelerate in Third Quarter

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 31, 2017 - 11:00pm

The pace of new listings isn't keeping up with homes that are selling quickly, leading to steadfast price growth and weakening affordability...

Categories: Real Estate

Fading FSBOs: More Sellers Admit They Need You

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 31, 2017 - 11:00pm

Homeowners are increasingly turning to real estate agents for help with selling their home, as the share of for-sale-by-owner sales remains at the...

Categories: Real Estate

The 10 Most ‘Livable’ Cities in 2017

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 31, 2017 - 11:00pm

Which cities offer the best places to live based on metrics like housing costs, unemployment, crime rates, and more? Find out if your city made...

Categories: Real Estate

Builders Recruit in Response to Labor Shortage

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 31, 2017 - 11:00pm

Homebuilders are desperate for more workers to help meet the growing demand for new homes, and they’re willing to start free schools to get...

Categories: Real Estate

Seller Negotiation Tactics That Can Backfire

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 31, 2017 - 11:00pm

Don’t let your homeowners become overconfident in a seller’s market. 

Categories: Real Estate

Despite Odds, Ownership Rate Moves Higher

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 31, 2017 - 11:00pm

More households are finding ways to purchase a home even within an environment of tight housing inventories and rising home prices. 

Categories: Real Estate

Single Female Buyers Back at Record Levels

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 31, 2017 - 11:00pm

Solid job prospects, higher incomes, and improving credit conditions are translating to continued momentum for the growing share of single female...

Categories: Real Estate

Most Popular Place for Movers: The South

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 31, 2017 - 11:00pm

More Americans are flocking to southern states, according to LendingTree’s migration analysis. Take a look at this chart to see the most...

Categories: Real Estate

Borrowers More Cautious as Rates Rise

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 31, 2017 - 11:00pm

Mortgage rates inched higher last week, prompting more buyers and homeowners to retreat slightly from taking out loans.

Categories: Real Estate

5 Essential Home-Buying Considerations

RisMedia - October 31, 2017 - 2:24pm

(TNS)—Buying a house is a life-changing process that requires lots of upfront financial planning.

When looking for a home, keep certain factors in mind, including your financial situation, types of available loans, your credit score, the price of the house and your down payment so you can navigate the process smoothly.

Your Financial Situation
Before you buy a house, make sure that your monthly budget can handle such a large expense. Unless you’re one of the few people who can pay cash for a home, you’ll likely be paying it off for 15 or 30 years, depending on the length of your loan.

In addition to the mortgage payment, you’ll want to factor in expenses like property taxes, homeowners insurance and routine maintenance.

Types of Mortgages
When buying a home, you have a few options for the type of loan you want to use. Two of the most common mortgage types are fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages.

The interest rate on a fixed-rate mortgage stays the same over the life of the loan, with payments divided up into equal amounts that you pay on a monthly basis. The longer the loan term, the less you have to pay each month; however, you’ll likely pay more in interest than you would with a shorter-term loan.

An adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, has a fixed interest rate for an initial period, followed by a period when the lender may periodically adjust the interest rate. For example, a 5/1 ARM has an introductory rate of five years. After that five-year period, the interest rate can change annually. With an ARM, you need to consider how much your monthly payment could increase and your ability to pay if it does go up.

Your Credit Score
You also need to review your credit score before buying a house. Your credit score helps creditors determine your creditworthiness. Borrowers with credit scores of 740 or higher generally qualify for the best mortgage deals.

It’s still possible to buy a house if you have bad credit. You likely will have to accept a higher interest rate on your mortgage, which could cost you hundreds of dollars extra per month.

If your credit score drops too low, though, you might not qualify for a mortgage at all. Consider improving your credit score first before trying to buy a house.

The Price of the Home
The higher the price of the house you want to buy, the more you can expect to pay on a monthly basis. When looking at houses, consider your budget and how much you can afford to spend.

Remember to consider your needs, too. Do you have a new addition to the family and need the room? Have your kids moved out and you want a smaller home?

Also, take a look at the price range of the houses available in the area where you want to buy. Compare the prices you find to your budget and determine what home you can afford.

The Down Payment
A large down payment represents one way to reduce the monthly cost of your mortgage. As a matter of fact, a down payment of 20 percent gives you access to better interest rates and prevents you from having to pay private mortgage insurance. So, in addition to lowering the amount you owe initially, a down payment also can get you a lower interest rate, making a house more affordable. There are also mortgages that require no down payment or a small one.

©2017 Bankrate.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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

The post 5 Essential Home-Buying Considerations appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

5 Horrors at Home Showings

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 30, 2017 - 11:00pm

Even though it’s Halloween, you don’t want these items in your listing to give buyers the creeps.

Categories: Real Estate