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Web Tools Can Speed Your Work

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 9, 2018 - 12:00am

Whether you need a quick reality check for color choices or a way to verify the status of your site, a variety of small, free websites can help...

Categories: Real Estate

‘Aging in Place’ Begins Early: Report

RisMedia Consumer News - January 8, 2018 - 3:09pm

Homeowners are getting older, and to continue on in their current house, improvements are necessary.

“Aging in place,” however, is not just about adding railings and ramps—in fact, 46 percent of homeowners aged 75-plus began improvements early with the expectation that they would grow older, but stay put, according to a HomeAdvisor report. The most common remodels, the report shows:

  • Add Lever-Style Doorknobs
  • Add Pull-Out Shelves
  • Add a Smart Fire Detection System
  • Add a Smart Security System
  • Replace Stone/Tile With Carpet/Wood

Homeowners at an earlier stage, aged 55-75, are also making modifications, but not necessarily due to aging concerns (though they are, fortuitously, ideal for just that). These include adding automated features like a programmable thermostat or voice activation, and, in bathrooms, grab bars and higher toilets.

According to HomeAdvisor, a “holistic” movement is occurring—a comprehensive, and, at times, preventative, approach to living over the years. Early on, that could mean addressing issues that could be unsafe, like a cracked walkway. Later, that could mean cutting clutter and organizing (accessible storage, for example), or eliminating labor-intensive chores, such as adding gutters that clean themselves. The outcome is a lifestyle that is not only beneficial currently, but also crucial down the line, when age can impede the ability to carry out chores and upkeep.

Other key improvements to consider, the report shows:

  • Lighting
  • Modifications in Shower (Bench, threshold)
  • Moving Master Bedroom to First Floor
  • Ramps
  • Wider Doorways

Source: HomeAdvisor

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 ‘Aging in Place’ Begins Early: Report appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

What’s in a Buyer’s Name? Apparently a Lot

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 8, 2018 - 12:00am

You should be chasing buyers with the names Dylan, Chelsea, Austin, Alexandra, and Taylor. They are the most likely to buy a home, according to...

Categories: Real Estate

New Financing Helps Investors Grow Portfolios

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 8, 2018 - 12:00am

Mortgage financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced programs to provide long-term financing at competitive interest rates that...

Categories: Real Estate

Win More Followers Online in Just 3 Minutes

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 8, 2018 - 12:00am

Are you looking to increase your network online? Try these simple ways to engage folks. 

Categories: Real Estate

Best, Worst Places for Commuters

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 8, 2018 - 12:00am

Consistent commutes are important to home buyers. Find out which metros made this year’s list.

Categories: Real Estate

Survey: Most Consumers Want VR Home Tours

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 7, 2018 - 12:00am

Home shoppers are embracing virtual reality, saying they believe the technology will make the buying and selling process simpler and quicker,...

Categories: Real Estate

How Much Buyers Put Down on Their Home

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 7, 2018 - 12:00am

The majority of buyers who obtained a mortgage last year made a down payment of less than 20 percent, NAR research shows.

Categories: Real Estate

Luxury Sales Slow, High-End Inventory Grows

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 7, 2018 - 12:00am

Supply of homes in the top 5 percentile of sales prices continues to outpace demand, according to a new realtor.com® report.

Categories: Real Estate

Some Retirees Still Face Years of Mortgage Payments

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 7, 2018 - 12:00am

Fewer seniors own their home free and clear, as 32 percent of homeowners ages 60 to 70 say it will take them more than another eight years to pay...

Categories: Real Estate

4 Types of Open House Visitors

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 7, 2018 - 12:00am

Many people who come to open houses are there just to snoop. But sometimes, a snoop will decide to buy.

Categories: Real Estate

Expect Building Delays on Commercial Projects

NAR Daily News Magazine - January 7, 2018 - 12:00am

The construction timeline for many buildings may lengthen in 2018 due to rising demand, particularly for warehouse and office space.

Categories: Real Estate

8 Signs of Fake Buyers, Sellers

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

Las Vegas real estate agent Lisa Holmquist says she watches for these indications that prospects aren’t being upfront about their real...

Categories: Real Estate

Protect Your Devices From New Security Flaws

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

Apple is the latest to say all of its iOS devices and Macs have processor issues that leave user information vulnerable to hackers. Here’s...

Categories: Real Estate

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