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Who provides the more accurate home valuation: Zillow or Redfin?

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- When you type in a home's street address to obtain an online valuation from the two biggest players in the field -- Zillow's Zestimate or Redfin's Estimate tools -- how good is what you get?

Both are used by millions of home shoppers, owners, realty agents, anyone curious about what a house in their neighborhood might be worth. ...Read more

Should seniors take the rap for the gap in homeownership by millennials?

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- Are senior homeowners preventing millennials from buying houses? Could the decisions of millions of older owners to "age in place" rather than sell their homes explain why millennials are lagging behind in homeownership?

A provocative new study (link: https://tinyurl.com/y3why5mh) from federally chartered mortgage investor Freddie...Read more

Latest credit breach exposes mortgage data for thousands of borrowers

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- A large breach of mortgage data that has exposed the personal financial information of tens of thousands of borrowers raises key consumer questions: What happens to all those disclosures we make after we apply for and obtain a home loan -- our tax returns, Social Security numbers, credit card accounts, bank-account numbers and ...Read more

Your FICO score is not your mortgage destiny

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- The higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate quote you'll get on your mortgage, right?

As a general proposition, sure. But how much of a rate benefit are you really likely to get with your super-high 800-plus FICO score compared with someone with a much lower score?

You might be surprised. A new statistical review, ...Read more

Housing market shows signs of hope

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- If you've been distracted by the federal shutdown, political dysfunction, stock-market volatility and reports of rising mortgage rates, it wouldn't be surprising if you concluded: No way is this a good time to even think about buying a house or putting one on the market. Things are too crazy. Nobody's paying attention to real ...Read more

Your DIY project didn't turn out quite right? You've got company.

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- Do-it-yourself projects by homeowners are a multi-billion-dollar growth area within the U.S. economy and the bread and butter of corporate giants like Lowe's and Home Depot.

And for good reason: When done right, DIYs are great, saving you money and time. They can even be fun and give you a sense of pride in what you've ...Read more

Federal shutdown creating mortgage victims

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- When the government shuts its doors because of a funding brouhaha that pits the White House against Capitol Hill, who gets hit hardest among people needing a home mortgage? The latest version of federal breakdown made one fact painfully clear: It all depends on the type of loan you seek and where you're located.

Worst hit, of ...Read more

Is your realty agent looking out for you, or someone else?

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- When you're involved in a real-estate transaction, do you assume that the realty agents are required to represent the best interests of the home buyer or seller with whom they are working?

The Consumer Federation of America recently posed that question to a national survey sample of adults, and 50 percent answered yes. Another 16 ...Read more

How much can you afford to pay for a new home?

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- New research sheds fresh light on one of the most frequently asked home-buying questions, especially for first-timers: With our annual income, what price house can we afford? Is there some handy rule-of-thumb?

Decades ago, a commonly quoted price-to-income guideline was that you can afford a house that costs roughly two times your...Read more

House tax bill contains early holiday gifts for homeowners

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- December is mega-tax-bill time on Capitol Hill, when legislation loaded with gifts and goodies for special-interest constituents moves ahead for action before the end of the year. House Republicans have unveiled their 2018 version -- nearly 300 pages worth -- and it has goodies galore: Write-offs and tax-credit deals for racehorse ...Read more

Push to cut back on home appraisals sparks controversy

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration wants to eliminate professional appraisals on a large number of home-sale transactions -- a move that critics say could push the country back toward the see-no-evil days of mortgage lending that preceded the housing crash.

Just before Thanksgiving, the administration's top financial regulators -- the ...Read more

Caribbean real-estate dream turns into $100 million nightmare for retirees

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- Ever fantasize about fleeing the winter cold and getting in on the ground floor of a beachfront real-estate deal in which you double your money in a few years? If you've dreamed that dream, here's how it could turn nightmarish.

When Frank Balluff and his wife, Rebecca, purchased a lot in what seemed to be an exciting new Caribbean...Read more

Cooling trend could bode well for home buyers

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- Don't call it a "buyer's market." Don't call it a "correction." But the fact is that a sobering change is taking shape in the housing market -- an unmistakable cooling trend that defies an economy that is showing impressive growth, has the lowest unemployment rate in years and the highest home-equity levels on record.

Anyone ...Read more

Why FSBOs are fizzling

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- What's been happening to that good old-fashioned American way to sell your home -- doing it yourself, with minimal or no commission costs?

If you believe new data from the National Association of Realtors' Buyer/Seller survey, for-sale-by-owner transactions -- popularly known as FSBOs ("Fizzbos") -- appear to be on the same ...Read more

Fannie and Freddie programs offer options to retirees seeking home loans

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- It's a common problem for retirees seeking to refinance or get a new mortgage: After their regular employment earnings stop flowing, their monthly incomes drop. They might have hundreds of thousands of dollars stored away in IRAs or 401(k) plans and other investments, but for mortgage purposes, they don't have enough monthly income...Read more

Which is better at valuing your home - you or a computer program?

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- Do you have a pretty good idea of what your house is worth? Could you estimate within, say, 5 percent of what it's likely to sell for? If so, would that make you more accurate about your home value than an estimate from a computer program loaded with recent sales data and algorithms?

Maybe. Maybe not. Economists at the Federal ...Read more

 

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