Home & Leisure

New lawsuits raise question of who should pay homebuyer's agent

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- The long knives are out again for one of American real estate's oldest and most controversial traditions: requiring home sellers to pay the agents who represent the buyers of their properties.

A landmark suit filed in March alleged that the 1.3-million-member National Association of Realtors has conspired with local multiple ...Read more

Zillow faces legal action over its co-marketing program

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- Zillow is back in hot water: A class-action suit against the online realty giant is moving forward after insider whistleblowers alleged that the company designed its controversial "co-marketing" program to violate federal anti-kickback laws.

Zillow termed the charges "without merit" and says it intends to "vigorously defend" ...Read more

Lenders opening doors to a wider swath of home buyers

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- Do you want to buy a house but worry that your credit profile will disqualify you for a mortgage? Take another look: A new study suggests that you might find lenders a little friendlier and more flexible than you thought. According to the Urban Institute Housing Finance Policy Center's latest quarterly credit availability report, ...Read more

Is the tax overhaul law impacting real estate?

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- A new report from the New York Federal Reserve sheds light on a question that's been hanging over the American real estate market: Has the massive tax overhaul adopted by Congress in late 2017 had any effect on whether consumers want to buy or sell homes?

It's an important issue because federal tax laws can make owning a home much...Read more

More Americans are choosing not to tap into their home equity

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- American homeowners are doing something surprising: Despite record amounts of home equity available to them -- an estimated $1.5 trillion worth -- they are tapping into it less via home-equity credit lines (HELOCs) and cash-out refinancings.

The big question is why. Are people simply getting more frugal? Or are other forces at ...Read more

Strong spring real estate season shaping up -- but who's got the advantage?

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- Have we arrived at one of those rare Goldilocks moments in real estate, where the market works well for sellers and buyers, strongly favoring neither?

Maybe. Based on the latest national consumer-sentiment survey by mortgage investor Fannie Mae, American consumers appear to think so. They're more positive about the overall ...Read more

New financial tools offer a boost to credit ratings

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- Here's some good news for anyone whose credit scores aren't quite as high as they'd like them to be: Three new financial tools have come to market -- or soon will be available -- that could give your scores a shot of adrenalin when you need it most.

These aren't "credit repair" rip-offs, where you shell out hundreds or thousands ...Read more

Homebuyers with heavy debt might find it tougher to get a mortgage

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- First-time and move-up homebuyers with heavy debt loads, low credit scores and small down payments face a daunting new mortgage hurdle: The Federal Housing Administration is toughening its underwriting standards. Large numbers of applications could be turned down in the coming months as a result.

Industry estimates vary about the ...Read more

Class action suit could change real-estate commissions

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- In what could be the most far-reaching antitrust lawsuit for the real estate market in decades, the National Association of Realtors and four of the largest realty companies have been accused of a conspiracy to systematically overcharge home sellers by forcing them to pay commissions to the agents who represent the buyers of their ...Read more

Buying a home just got easier for many in the gig economy

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- If you're one of the millions of Americans who are self-employed or earn money on the side through freelance, contract or "gig" work, you may know the drill firsthand: Applying for a mortgage can be an intrusive ordeal.

Compared with people who have W-2 forms or pay stubs to verify their income, you encounter a much more time-...Read more

Zillow sued over hacked listing of California mansion

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- What may be the first-ever hijacking of an active real-estate listing online -- a palatial mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Bel Air, California -- has led to a lawsuit seeking $60 million in damages against home-sale marketing company Zillow.

One or more hackers seized control of the mansion's listing page on Zillow's ...Read more

More Americans are paying mortgages on time

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- It's a real estate and social barometer that doesn't get a lot of publicity, but it's important: More Americans are paying their mortgages on time today than they have in nearly two decades -- maybe even longer.

That's a big deal, because when large numbers of owners do the opposite -- stop paying on their home loans for months at...Read more

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


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