Blog Which US Cities have the lowest Closing Costs? Washington’s closing costs among lowest in U.S. 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, […]
Blog Do you want a front porch? The front porch is a gateway to memories 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 But the architectural feature is […]
Blog Monday’s housing news Existing-home sales could reach normalcy in 2013, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR) .
Blog Market highlights for Seattle metro area 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.
Blog Single-family rentals are in high demand Single-family rentals are hot.
Blog Investing in real estate today 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
Blog Closing costs are down 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, a $200,000 mortgage with 20 percent down might cost a buyer $3754 in closing fees, or $300 less than one year ago.
Blog Today’s renters are older with kids Today’s renters are older and have children, and they want to rent homes, not apartments.
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Blog Home improvement spending is expected to go up 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
Blog Mortgage debt forgiveness is on the line 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
Blog Cities vs. suburbs Mortgage loan rates have fallen again.  CNN Money   reports that the 30-year mortgage dropped to 3.53% from 3.56% over one week ago, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly report. One year ago, the 30-year fixed rate was 4.52%.
Blog Have we bottomed out? Has the housing market bottomed out? Most economists surveyed by  the Wall Street Journal   (44 out of 47) agree that it has.
Blog List your home the Hollywood way “The Spider and the Fly” is a short film produced by Hans Zimmer Studios to showcase none other than a multi-million dollar mansion in Malibu. DeeAnna Staats, owner of Staats & Co., hired the Hollywood company to shoot the short, had it downloaded onto 100 new iPads, and sent them out into the prospective market.
Blog To shingle or not to shingle? The Shingle artchitectural style is singularly American and stands in contrast to the nineteenth-century Victorian houses of the same era. The New England school of architecture reacted against the ornamental Victorian revival styles and created a new design that is considered America’s first modern house. Though it began on the East Coast, the style can be seen across America and especially in the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes states. While towers, gables, and complex rooflines showcase some flourish, the Shingle style sets itself apart from its Victorian cousins with its streamlined appearance.
Blog Government watchdog proposes safeguards The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau aims to safeguard borrowers from risky mortgages . Just this Monday, the CFPB, the government’s consumer watchdog, made a proposal that includes, but is not limited to, these provisions: Ban on balloon payments Prohibition of prepayment fees or fees for modifying or deferring loans Cap on late fees Requirement for borrowers to receive homeownership counseling prior to signing mortgage papers Additionally, new versions of two simplified mortgage disclosure forms have been proposed. The CFPB hopes that the revisions will clarify loan terms and costs so that consumers know exactly what they’re buying into
Blog One square meter of my own What could you do with one square meter? Berlin-based architect and founder of Hartz IV Mobel, Van Bo Le-Mentzel , proposes the one-square-meter house. Le-Mentzel conceptualized what is likely the world’s smallest house from his personal experience of living some of his earlier years as a refuge who depended on social housing
Blog Seattle’s Great Wheel Photograph by Ellen M. Banner, The Seattle Times Seattle’s newest tourist landmark opened on Friday, June 29, at Pier 57. The Great Wheel towers at 175 feet, weighs 280,300 pounds, and holds 42 climate-controlled gondolas.
Blog Record low mortgage rates The latest  Freddie Mac report  shows all-time low mortgage rates, reports the  Los Angeles Times .
Blog U.S. housing is looking up The latest housing data indicates that the U.S. market is well into healing.
Blog Seattle’s condo market is simmering The Seattle condo market is making a comeback, reports the Seattle Times . Among the 2,500 new condos built by developers throughout downtown, Belltown, Lower Queen Anne and South Lake Union, only 250 remain on the market, according to county records.