As mortgage rates slowly increase, so do loan origination fees. USA Today reports that loan-origination and other fees went up 6 percent in the last year to a national average of $2,402 on a $200,000 single-family mortgage loan to a customer with stellar credit and 20 percent down, based on data from Bankrate.com. The reason for the parallel rise in rates and fees is two-fold. First, higher rates mean less profit on the money loaned. To compensate for the loss in profit, lenders attempt to make up the difference in fees. Second, the work required in underwriting loans is greater today than it has been in the past, thereby increasing costs. Bankrate’s 2013 survey indicates that Hawaii averages the highest closing costs at $2,912 for a mortgage of $200,000 (excluding taxes, title fees, property insurance, association fees, interest, and other prepaid items). In contrast, Washington has one of the lowest in the nation at $2,208. – See more at: http://dustinkeeth.info/#sthash.LtCW2P5e.dpuf
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The front porch is a vestige of an older, simpler way of life when families sat outside and neighbors visited with one another. Once a place for relaxation, the front porch faded in popularity due to an evolving modern life that brought about air conditioning and backyard decks, according to www.houzz.com. But the architectural feature is making a strong comeback.
There’s no easier way to add square footage to your home than to maximize the transition areas outside your property. Households can utilize the porch for additional entertaining space or for solitude. Need some inspiration? Check out Better Homes and Gardens for style ideas.
Diane Foreman, a design consultant with Neil Kelly Co. notes that the porch is, at minimum, a transitional space between the home’s exterior and interior. But the porch is also a holding place of “intangibles,” sensory experiences and memories about childhood, grandparents, and neighbors.
Seattle Times writer Tyrone Beason sums it up this way:
“The duality of the front porch is intriguing. It is a part of the house and yet it is a part of the streetscape. It is a private space but, then again, there’s nothing private about it. You can watch the world go by there — but the world can also watch you.”
Beason reminds us that a well used and aesthetically appealing front porch adds valuable space to homeowners and curb appeal to the home, which can increase the overall value of the property.
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Existing-home sales could reach normalcy in 2013, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR) .
Sales of existing homes throughout the U.S. rose 2.3 percent in July from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.47 million, reports the Seattle Times . In the Puget Sound area, sales rose 11 percent in July.
Single-family rentals are hot.
Forbes reporter Morgan Brennan shares insight on three ways to grow wealth in the housing market. Real estate investment trusts, turn key investment properties, and renting and managing homes as a traditional landlord are good options now and in the future. Watch the video for details
The average cost of closing on a mortgage has dropped by 7.4 percent over the past year, reports CNN Money . Based on a recent survey conducted by Bankrate.com, a $200,000 mortgage with 20 percent down might cost a buyer $3754 in closing fees, or $300 less than one year ago.
Today’s renters are older and have children, and they want to rent homes, not apartments.
The first quarter of 2013 may see double-digit growth in home improvement spending. Brad Tuttle of Time highlights the market conditions that are contributing to the uptick, identified by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Eric S. Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center, says that “low financing costs, stronger consumer confidence, improving home sales, and the perception that home prices have stabilized in most markets across the country are encouraging owners to start working on the list of home improvement projects they have been putting off.” Rather than spend on high-end projects, many households are opting for practical revisions and upgrades
Homeowners who sold their principal residences short or lost them to foreclosure have benefited from the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007. But the law expires at the end of 2012, meaning that those households who experience a short sale, foreclosure, or deed in lieu could receive a tax bill the following year. Wisebread explains how it works: Typically, the IRS considers forgiven debt up to $2 million as ordinary, taxable income. The lender issues a 1099-C to the borrower for the balance owed, minus what the home was sold for