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Jun 01,2007
In an effort to beef up tax revenues, an increasing number of government entities are reviving the old technique of imposing a special tax on all property transfers. It seldom works in areas where many residents actively express their negative feelings about such a tax - but does work in other areas. Real estate transfer taxes are state and local taxes assessed on real property, including homes, when ownership is transferred between parties. In some ... [full story]
1559 times read - No comment posted

May 25,2007
A recent report on the CBS television program "60 Minutes" has sparked quite a furor within the real estate brokerage industry. Leslie Stahl interviewed a representative of the now-defunct eRealty and others. The consensus of their remarks included the assumption that the going commission rate is 6 percent and that the governing body for the industry is the National Association of Realtors. The interviewees also asserted that new rules threaten to block Internet discounters' access ... [full story]
1755 times read - No comment posted

May 25,2007
Q: My mother and I equally owned a duplex. Upon her death, I received half her share in the property and the remaining half went to the two adult children of her son. They each now own a 1/8 share in the home and I would like to purchase their shares. Our problem is that it’s difficult to get a precise value of the property since the local real estate market is soft. Two similar ... [full story]
974 times read - 1 comments posted

May 25,2007
Q: My wife and I own a house that is surrounded by my mother-in-law’s property. The acre lot was given to my wife about 8 years ago. She built a house on it before we were married. The land is very dear to my mother-in-law and she does not want us to sell it. We need some money to complete a house we are building in a different location. My mother-in-law has offered to buy ... [full story]
937 times read - No comment posted

May 25,2007
The Commercial Leading Indicator for Brokerage Activity,* a forward-looking index for the commercial real estate market, rose slightly in the first quarter to the highest level on record but the rate of growth has decelerated over the past year, according to the National Association of Realtors(R). The Commercial Leading Indicator for Brokerage Activity increased 0.2 percent to an index of 120.3 in the first quarter from a reading of 120.1 in the fourth quarter, and ... [full story]
1797 times read - No comment posted

May 25,2007
Mortgage rates broke out of a narrow range, rising to the highest point since January. According to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey of large lenders, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is now 6.42 percent and has an average of 0.26 discount and origination points.  The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage, popular for refinancing, increased by a similar amount, to 6.15 percent. With larger loans, the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate climbed to 6.64 percent. On ... [full story]
1059 times read - No comment posted

May 18,2007
New programs are surfacing to help low-income families become homeowners. In today's market, those programs are desperately needed. Mortgage financing has become much more difficult in recent months, with lenders tightening their underwriting policies and cutting their offering of adjustable-rate mortgages to subprime borrowers. At the same time, home prices remain high, with some markets showing a slight reduction in median prices and others continuing to increase prices. One method to help families acquire a ... [full story]
1307 times read - No comment posted

May 18,2007
If you ask homebuyers what they hate about the process of buying a home, closing costs are likely to land near the top of the list.Are you surprised? Mortgage companies have made it difficult, if not impossible, to tell what's a true cost and what's a junk fee. Home buyers are being charged for things that should be included in the profit the lender is making.  Why, for example, is there an "underwriting fee?" The process ... [full story]
1706 times read - 1 comments posted

May 18,2007
Q: My wife and I own a house that is surrounded by my mother-in-law’s property. The acre lot was given to my wife about 8 years ago. She built a house on it before we were married. The land is very dear to my mother-in-law and she does not want us to sell it. We need some money to complete a house we are building in a different location. My mother-in-law has offered to buy ... [full story]
1361 times read - No comment posted

May 18,2007
State existing-home sales in the first quarter generally are below a year ago but more states are improving than reported in the fourth quarter of 2006, and home prices in most areas show that conditions are favoring buyers, according to the latest quarterly survey by the National Association of Realtors. Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate(1) of 6.41 million units in the first quarter, down 6.6 ... [full story]
1284 times read - No comment posted

May 18,2007
Mortgage rates increased slightly this week, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate rising to 6.32 percent. According to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey of large lenders, the 30-year fixed rate mortgages had an average of 0.26 discount and origination points. The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage, popular for refinancing, rose to 6.05 percent. With larger loans, the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate nudged higher to 6.56 percent. On adjustable rate mortgages, the average 5/1 ARM ... [full story]
2074 times read - No comment posted

May 11,2007
Consumers are paying too much for title insurance premiums, according to a report recently issued by the Government Accountability Office. Maybe it's time to take a more serious look at adopting the system used in Iowa - the only state where the sale of title insurance policies is illegal. The GAO report points out that consumers find it difficult to shop for title insurance and there is very little pressure on insurers to compete on ... [full story]
1998 times read - No comment posted

May 11,2007
My hot water heater is going. And, there's a crack in a piece of siding, thanks to my son's penchant for playing basketball in the driveway.Nearly eight years ago, my husband, Sam, and I finished the gut renovation of our home. We pulled off every piece of siding, all of the plaster on the interior walls, every piece of knob-and-tube wiring, and all of the plumbing. We jacked up the house, added some steel beams ... [full story]
1048 times read - No comment posted



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