May 2012

Found 17 blog entries for May 2012.

According to recently released statistics from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), existing-home sales rose 3.4 percent in April and remain above a year ago, while at the same time, home prices continued to increase.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 3.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million in April; this is 10 percent higher than the 4.20 million-unit level in April 2011. Additionally, improvements in sales and prices were broad based across all regions.

According to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, the latest numbers indicate that a housing recovery is well underway. Yun stresses this recovery is not just being

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With energy costs on the rise, and green living trending, consumers across the country are looking for smart solutions to up their eco-friendly ante. However, many homeowners don’t pay attention to what is coming out of their tap—specifically, their shower. Water is a place many homeowners overlook when thinking of ways to make their home more eco-friendly.  One major way they can change their water consumption is to take a look at their daily water use, and their water quality—specifically hard water.  According to the U.S Geological Survey, nearly 90 percent of American homes have hard water, which contains high levels of calcium and magnesium.

So how do you know if your water is hard?  Check your pipes and showerheads for scaling.  Also, if you have

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Q: When Is the Best Time to Refinance?

A: Many people flock to refinance while mortgage interest rates are low, particularly when rates are about two percentage points below their existing home loans.

Other factors, like when to finance, will depend on how long you plan to hold on to your home and whether you have to pay considerable fees to refinance. It also will depend on how far along you are in paying off your current mortgage.

If you expect to sell your home relatively soon, you are not likely to recoup the costs you incurred to refinance. And if you are more than halfway through paying your current mortgage, you probably will gain little by refinancing. However, if you are going to own your home for at least another five years, that is

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An estimated 13,000 REALTORS® converged on the grounds of the Washington Monument last week to make their voices heard on behalf of homeowners, real estate investors, and those who aspire to homeownership.

At the Rally to Protect the American Dream, REALTORS® from every state in the country joined invited members of Congress to demonstrate their commitment to preserving access to homeownership and robust real estate investment.

“REALTORS® know that homeownership is an investment in our collective futures, and we’re here today to protect the American Dream of homeownership,” said National Association of Realtors® President Moe Veissi. “Homeownership and investment in real estate impacts families, communities, small businesses and the nation’s economy in

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Worldwide, investors are fleeing to safe havens and these days that means German and US bonds.  Germany’s yield is down to almost 0 at 0.028% and our yield is down close to record lows –  dropping below 1.7% before closing at 1.73%.  Why?  The same soap opera; Greece is going to pull out of the EU, the Euro may collapse and more of Spain’s banks were downgraded by Moody’s.  Our 10 year Treasury yield fell (very slowly) for the 9th straight week approaching  a new record low.  Some “experts” are predicting the 10 year dropping below 1.5% but we must caution – many experts are only experts because they say they are.

On the US front, our initial jobless claims came in at 370,000, about 5000 above the consensus but within the consensus  range.  The 4 week

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No room is too small for a fabulous kitchen! All it needs is some cleverly thought through tricks to ensure every corner of the room is used, whilst still looking great.
Take a look at these top tips on how to make a big kitchen impression in your small space.

• If your space is small, make use of light. With the combination of clever lighting, glass and mirrors, you can make the room seem much more spacious by choosing a pantone which works with the space.

• Try to avoid clashing colors and bold patterns, as these generally work best in larger rooms. You don't want the room to have too many different colors or points of focus. Instead choose something practical and let the accessories do the talking.

• Storage should be top of the list when it

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Despite the fact that Americans overwhelmingly support homeownership, legislative and regulatory proposals now under consideration would greatly harm home owners, home buyers, the housing market and the nation's economy. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has launched a new website, www.ProtectHomeownership.com, to bring attention to the threats to homeownership and inspire the public to take action to protect it.

“American families aspire to homeownership because they know that it promotes stability and is critical in creating wealth and providing upward mobility and financial security for families. Equally important, homeownership supports the economy by creating jobs,” says NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville,

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With Spring in full bloom, homeowners are taking advantage of the weather and prepping their outdoor living spaces for the summer season. One main hangout for many is the deck.  There are a handful of different low-cost deck trends for 2012, and homeowners can freshen up their existing space without breaking the bank by highlighting a few key elements. According to a survey by Trex Company, a composite deck company, 83 percent of Americans favor low-maintenance home improvement projects—and who can blame them? The following updates are as easy as they are wallet-friendly.

Rock the railing.  The railing is often the first thing guests see when they take a look at your deck from the yard or street view, so it’s important to realize that this is more than

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So things are good for mortgage rates, again.  The Producer Price Index (inflation measurement – inflation is bad for interest rates) came in slightly below expectations, showing very little inflation.  One of these days, the tide will shift but today that’s good news.  Yesterday’s unemployment claims came in right at the consensus estimate and the previous period’s estimate was revised up but only by a minor amount so no surprises.  Greece appears ready to pull out of the EU and the speculation is that Spain will follow.  How does that affect us, you may ask?  Europe is nervous again with speculation that Greece may fail and the entire EU is looking rather fragile.  Uncertainty is bad in the investment world so investors are flooding to the more stable

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Q: Should I lock in the mortgage rate?


A: Because the interest rate market fluctuates constantly and is subject to quick movements without notice, locking in a mortgage rate with a lender certainly protects you from the time your lock is confirmed to the day it expires.
 
Lock-ins make sense in a rapidly-rising rate environment or when borrowers expect rates to climb during the next 30 - 60 days, which is typically the amount of time a lock-in remains in effect.
 
A lock-in given at the time of application is useful because it may take the lender several weeks to prepare a loan application.  These days, however, automated loan practices have cut the time quite a bit.
 
Lock-ins are not necessarily free.  Some lenders require you to pay a lock-in fee to

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