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Smart-Home Tech: The Perfect Closing Gift?

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 5, 2018 - 12:00am

Recently surveyed consumers say they are most often introduced to smart-home technology by receiving it as a gift, and once they own a device,...

Categories: Real Estate

More House Fires Ignite in Colder Months

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 5, 2018 - 12:00am

A greater number of structural blazes occur in the winter. Older homes may have the greatest risk. 

Categories: Real Estate

Mortgage Rates Ring in New Year With a Dip

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 5, 2018 - 12:00am

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is now down a quarter of a percentage point from a year ago.

Categories: Real Estate

VHT Studios Expands Talent, Acquires Circlepix

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 5, 2018 - 12:00am

The  acquisition combines two of the largest real estate photographer networks in the country.

Categories: Real Estate

Would You Play Pretend Neighbors With These TV Characters?

RisMedia Consumer News - January 4, 2018 - 3:05pm

Good neighbors are hard to find—unless you live near your favorite fictional star. Which character on the small screen is the most sought-after in 2018?

The best on the block, according to the annual Celebrity Neighbor Survey by Zillow, are Leonard and Penny from “The Big Bang Theory,” with 19 percent of the vote. Leonard is played by Johnny Galecki, whose ranch in San Luis Obispo was destroyed in a fire last summer. Penny is portrayed by Kaley Cuoco, who, after briefly residing at Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian’s former home in Tarzana, made headlines with her single-gal spread.

One TV twist: Nine percent of respondents to the survey said they’re not fans of “Big Bang” characters Sheldon and Amy. The most nightmare-ish, however? Thirty-one percent said they’d dread living in proximity to the titular Simpsons—but 11 percent, still, said the opposite.

“‘The Big Bang Theory’ is one of the most popular shows on television, so it is not surprising that American adults chose its leading couple as the most desirable neighbors for 2018,” says Jeremy Wacksman, CMO at Zillow. “On the other hand, it wouldn’t be easy to live next to the Simpsons, who have spent nearly 30 seasons causing chaos for neighbor Ned Flanders and the rest of Springfield. However, as the stars of one of TV’s longest-running shows, the Simpsons are certainly beloved by some: they also tied for second on the most desirable neighbor list.”

The faves following Leonard and Penny in the ranking: The Dunphys from “Modern Family” (No. 2 alongside the Simpsons); Will and Grace from “Will & Grace” (No. 3); Jack and Rebecca Pearson from “This Is Us” (No. 4); and The Johnsons from “Black-ish” (No. 5).

After the Simpsons, the neighbors not welcome are: The Lannisters from “Game of Thrones” (No. 2); Olivia Pope from “Scandal” (No. 4); and the Jennings from “The Americans” (No. 5).

2018’s choices differ from those in prior years, when Americans were asked to pick a real-life star to share a fence with. In 2017, that honor went to the Obamas.

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Would You Play Pretend Neighbors With These TV Characters? appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Borrowers Beware: These Mortgage Rules Could Soon Get a Facelift

RisMedia Consumer News - January 4, 2018 - 3:04pm

(TNS)—Getting a mortgage today is much different than it was before the financial crisis.

Loans have to meet certain standards and there are many rules lenders and servicers have to follow. But after a shakeup in leadership at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the future of some policies is uncertain.

Here’s why: The new acting director of the CFPB, budget director Mick Mulvaney, is expected to review regulations that haven’t been finalized, and he may try to alter rules that are already in place.

Here are three policies Mulvaney could change and what adjustments to them might mean for homeowners and homebuyers. The CFPB has already announced plans to reconsider certain rules.

Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
When you apply for a mortgage, some information—including your race, ethnicity and sex—could be released to the public.

For thousands of lenders, reporting mortgage information is mandatory under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). While the law has been around since 1975, the amount of data made publicly available is increasing, and not everyone is thrilled.

The mortgage industry believes that publishing so much data raises concerns about consumer privacy. And there’s no way to opt out of having your information shared, notes Richard Andreano Jr., partner at the Ballard Spahr law firm.

“They expanded the data set so much that there was a concern that if it was all made public, at what point are borrowers able to be identified using HMDA data?” asks Alexander Monterrubio, director of Regulatory Affairs at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU).

Consumer advocates want more information released. Doing so, they argue, protects borrowers from discriminatory lending. It also holds lenders accountable for their actions, says Jaime Weisberg, senior campaign analyst at the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD).

The latest HMDA requirements went into effect Jan. 1, 2018, but the CFPB, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced that lenders won’t be penalized for mistakes made while collecting data in 2018 or reporting it in 2019. They also won’t have to resubmit data unless errors are “material.”

The CFPB also said that it would revisit certain aspects of HMDA.

“HMDA could be made almost worthless,” says Peter Smith, a senior researcher at the Center for Responsible Lending. “We need a good body of rules to make sure lenders are playing a fair game with consumers.”

Ability-to-Repay and Qualified Mortgage Standards
Another rule that has been subject to debate is the qualified mortgage (or ability-to-repay) rule implemented in 2014. It requires most lenders to make a “good faith effort” to determine whether someone can afford a mortgage and eventually pay it back.

Critics say the new standards have kept many people, including low-income individuals, from becoming homeowners.

The CFPB is obligated to review the ability-to-pay rule since the Bureau is required to assess existing regulations within five years.

With the CFPB’s change in leadership, there may be pressure to loosen lending requirements, says Barry Zigas, director of Housing Policy at the Consumer Federation of America. There’s already a Senate bill aiming to give qualified mortgage status to loans offered by many banks and credit unions without requiring the lender to meet every condition under the ability-to-repay rule.

The bill’s supporters say it would give more consumers access to mortgages. But Zigas calls it a “dangerous effort to undermine consumer protections.” If it passes, a financial institution may legally avoid going through all of the steps lenders take to ensure borrowers can repay their loans, like considering their debt obligations, verifying income and employment history, and calculating their monthly debt-to-income ratio

TRID Rule
In 2015, the CFPB combined the mortgage disclosure obligations required by the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act under the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule. One result of the TRID rule is that consumers preparing to close on a house have two documents explaining their closing costs and mortgage terms, rather than four.

While the new forms helped simplify the closing process for homebuyers, the TRID rule created other problems. For one, it could prevent buyers from closing on their homes as quickly as they want to, says Brandy Bruyere, vice president of Regulatory Compliance at NAFCU.

For many items on the disclosures, there’s little or no tolerance for last-minute changes, and lenders have had to choose between rejecting borrowers’ requests and eating additional fees.

The CFPB has worked to fix the TRID rule and clear up confusion for lenders. But it hasn’t addressed every issue, leading members of Congress to create a bill that would make additional adjustments.

“The TRID disclosures are solid, and any significant change would add additional costs and uncertainty to the closing process,” says Smith from the CRL.

Rules Won’t Change Overnight
The CFPB’s final rules can’t be modified without issuing a notice and asking the public for feedback. Take these steps to ensure your voice is heard, especially if you’re concerned about how rule changes could affect you.

Comment on any potential policy changes. When the opportunity arises, visit the CFPB’s website and comment on the rules the agency is proposing. “The CFPB doesn’t have to do what the comments say, but they have to provide a reason for not doing so to avoid the rule being struck down as arbitrary and capricious,” says Benjamin Olson, a former deputy assistant director for the Office of Regulations at the CFPB.

Contact your representative. Congressional leaders can review certain rules issued by the CFPB and potentially overturn them. That’s what happened with the CFPB’s arbitration rule. The policy would’ve made it easier for consumers to file class action lawsuits against banks, but lawmakers used their powers under the Congressional Review Act to kill it before it could take effect. Legislators are now considering the CFPB’s final rule on payday lending and may seek to repeal it.

Use the complaint database. If you’ve had issues with your mortgage lender or servicer and you’re having trouble resolving them, file a complaint with the CFPB. Typically, you’ll receive a response within 15 days. You can use the same database if you’re having problems with other financial entities, like the bank managing your checking or savings account.

If you’re looking at mortgage rates and preparing to buy a home for the first time, read reviews and do your homework before choosing a lender.

©2017 Bankrate.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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

The post Borrowers Beware: These Mortgage Rules Could Soon Get a Facelift appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Winter ‘Bomb Cyclone’ Puts Homes At Risk

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 4, 2018 - 12:00am

The explosive storm spiraling across the eastern U.S. is expected to bring heavy snowfall and high winds. Southern houses may be most at risk...

Categories: Real Estate

Renting Population Drops as Prices Bump Up

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 4, 2018 - 12:00am

For the first time since 2004, there has been a decrease in renters.

Categories: Real Estate

The Best Places for New Year’s Resolutions

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 4, 2018 - 12:00am

Some cities may be more inspiring than others in keeping your goals on track for the new year.

Categories: Real Estate

Neighbors Waging ‘Not in My Backyard’ Battles

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 4, 2018 - 12:00am

Homeowners  increasingly want a say on development that occurs in their communities, even if it’s far beyond their...

Categories: Real Estate

Experts: 2018 Mortgage Rates to Surpass 4.5%

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 4, 2018 - 12:00am

The recent tax bill could be speeding up the Federal Reserve’s rate increases, which could push 30-year mortgage rates up past 4 percent in...

Categories: Real Estate

10 Cities That Offer Work-Life Balance

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 4, 2018 - 12:00am

Head to the Midwest if you’re looking for the best mix of work and play.

Categories: Real Estate

Making Sense of Valuation’s Alphabet Soup: CMAs, BPOs, AVMs and Appraisals

RisMedia - January 3, 2018 - 3:46pm

The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD).

This article explains the four most common valuation methods used for real property transactions and how and when they are used. It’s important to note that the methods below are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Lenders, servicers, investors, and other professionals use one or more of these valuation methods, depending on circumstances and the type of transaction. Often, one valuation method is used to confirm or quality-check the results of another.

Comparative Market Analysis (CMA): A CMA is prepared by a licensed real estate professional and is most commonly used to help determine a home’s listing price. The CMA should not be the only factor in determining listing price; rather, it is a guide for the agent and owner to evaluate the active and sold competition, and to serve as a tool in the price-setting process. A CMA can also be used—depending on variations in state laws—for a variety of other purposes, including loan modifications, short sales and foreclosure/REO purchases, value trend analysis, mediation and negotiation. It should not serve as the sole method of valuing collateral in a real estate transaction where a mortgage is being originated.

Broker Price Opinion (BPO): A BPO is prepared by a licensed real estate professional and is an estimate of the probable future selling price of a property. Like CMAs, BPOs may be used—depending on variations in state laws—for a variety of purposes, including loan modifications, short sales and foreclosure/REO purchases, value trend analysis, mediation and negotiation. They normally should not be used as the sole way to value collateral in a real estate transaction where a mortgage is being originated, even though in some states both BPOs and CMAs are technically permitted for purchase money transactions when the transaction is less than $250,000 (though allowed, CMAs are rarely used for this purpose).

Automated Valuation Model (AVM): An AVM is a service or software that provides property valuations, often based on mathematical modeling. AVMs are most commonly developed or used by lenders, servicer appraisal staff, and investors. While AVMs are most often used by lenders or secondary markets to confirm valuations provided in appraisal reports, they should not be used as the sole method to value collateral in a real estate transaction where a mortgage is being originated. They may, however, be used as the sole valuation option for other types of transactions, such as refinances.

Appraisal: An appraisal is prepared by a licensed or certified appraiser and is an opinion of a property’s value. Appraisals are most often used to value collateral in a real estate transaction and are required for most federally-regulated transactions above $250,000. Exceptions include transactions where no new money is involved. In practice, appraisals are used for the vast majority of purchase money transactions involving a loan. For the most part, lenders or servicers determine the use of appraisal or another acceptable methodology for transactions that are not purchase money.

Source: www.nar.realtor/appraisal/valuation-services-matrix

For more education about valuation and pricing, check out this month’s featured online certification course at the Center for REALTOR® Development, Pricing Strategies: Mastering the CMA, which is the educational requirement for NAR’s Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA) certification, and is on sale this entire month of January at 25% off its regular price. This certification aims to help real estate professionals enhance skills in pricing properties, creating CMAs, working with appraisers, and guiding their clients through the anxieties and misperceptions related to real estate valuation.

For more information, please visit RISMedia’s online learning portal from NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD) and the Learning Library. Here, real estate professionals can sign up for online professional development courses, industry designations, certifications, CE credits, Code of Ethics programs and more. NAR’s CRD also offers monthly specials and important education updates. New users will need to register for an account.

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

The post Making Sense of Valuation’s Alphabet Soup: CMAs, BPOs, AVMs and Appraisals appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Hone These Essential Business Skills in 2018

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 3, 2018 - 12:00am

Most successful business owners share these key abilities. Here are ten ways you can improve your performance in each area in the coming...

Categories: Real Estate

Climate Change Fears Make Elevations Count

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 2, 2018 - 12:00am

In coastal areas, some worry “climate gentrification” will mean neighborhoods on higher ground become unaffordable.

Categories: Real Estate

Why Is Everyone Moving to Idaho?

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 2, 2018 - 12:00am

The Gem State attracted more new residents in 2017 than any other in the country. Learn what other areas are seeing similar growth.

Categories: Real Estate

Use These Categories to Find Your Niche

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 2, 2018 - 12:00am

Carving out a specialty for your business takes a fair amount of thought and reflection, if you do it right. Here are three considerations....

Categories: Real Estate

Wealth Surge Boosts Second-Home Market

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 2, 2018 - 12:00am

Learn which popular vacation spots around the country are benefiting most from this trend. 

Categories: Real Estate

What Qualifies as ‘House Poor’?

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 2, 2018 - 12:00am

Just because your clients are approved for a mortgage of a certain amount doesn't mean it will work for their budgets. Make sure you and your...

Categories: Real Estate

Wet vs. Dry Bars: Outdated or On-Trend?

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 2, 2018 - 12:00am

Are these entertainment spaces still coveted by buyers? 

Categories: Real Estate