8 questions to ask yourself when deciding to rent or buy a house

If you’re at the age when your peers are making major life moves — getting married, having kids and buying homes – you might be feeling it’s time to join them. Or you may simply just be at that stage all on your own.Either way, plenty of young adults are starting to get the home-buying itch. While there are a lot of appealing benefits to homeownership, taking on that kind of debt is not without risk. The decision to rent vs. buy is one you should make carefully.If you’re trying to figure out your next move, consider asking yourself these eight questions. The answers should steer you in the right direction. 1. What Is my top financial priority?Buying a home will slow down your ability to make progress on other financial goals. You’ll need to focus on lowering expenses or increasing your income so you can afford a down payment and monthly mortgage payments. (This guide can help you understand more about how to determine your down payment on a home.)That extra cash will be funneled toward your mortgage rather than paying off credit cards or student loans if you have them. Other financial goals, such as saving for retirement and building an emergency fund, may also have to take a back seat.Assess your competing financial goals and decide which ones take priority. Buying a house might come first in your book, or perhaps you’ll decide to work toward other money goals before committing to a mortgage. 2. Do I have savings for a down payment & closing costs?Renting requires some savings – you’ll need enough cash to cover the first month’s rent and the deposit.To buy a home, however, the minimum you’ll need to have saved is usually 6% or more of the home’s value. Even FHA loans require a minimum down payment of 3.5%, and closing costs add another 2-3% to the costs.But that’s the minimum; a 20% down payment is better to give you a decent amount of equity and avoid private mortgage Continue Reading

To buy a house, millennials digging deep into family’s pockets

DETROIT — As home prices rise and competition for a limited supply of homes increases, young buyers are increasingly using a special financing to win in bidding wars: The Bank of Mom and Dad."It’s definitely becoming much more common, not that parents didn’t help their children in the past," said Jeanette Schneider, vice president of RE/MAX of Southeastern Michigan in Troy. "But, it really has become a trend."Several factors, she said, are driving it: Millennials — the generation of young homebuyers ages 18-35 — are facing more competition and costs for homes, they are saddled with more student debt than previous generations, and simply put, their parents seem to be more willing to lend them money. Based on anecdotal reports from agents, Schneider estimated that nearly 10% of home sales use some kind of family financing or gifts and that could grow if the housing market stays hot. That percentage, she said, is far more prevalent than what she would have estimated when she started in the industry nearly 30 years ago.An analysis of mortgages serviced by Shore United Bank in Troy, suggests the percentage of home sales using gifts might be even higher. It found that 42% of young homeowners used money that was given to them toward down payments and closing costs.The trend, however, requires that families be clear on whether the money being given is a loan or a gift. Not only are there relationship concerns to consider, there are legal and tax considerations. Taking out a family loan, even if it is a relatively small one, adds to a homebuyer's debt, can jeopardize eligibility for mortgage programs and could reduce the attractiveness of an offer to the seller.A gift means that the homebuyer has no obligation to pay it back — but can if he or she wishes.Take 24-year-old Amber Hauer, who just bought her first home in July.For about $145,000, she purchased a Continue Reading

New life in U.S. housing market not evident in big bank results

By Sweta Singh (Reuters) - The U.S. housing sector has seen prices, sales and financing applications soar lately as more buyers entered the market for the first time, but those trends were hard to see in big banks' mortgage businesses during the second quarter. Five major U.S. lenders have reported an average 31 percent drop in second-quarter mortgage banking revenue in the past few days, compared with the same quarter of last year. An ongoing decline in refinancing activity, higher funding costs, tougher competition and a greater portion of business coming from third parties, who generally deliver lower margins, all contributed to the slide. Even so, executives sounded optimistic about the core operation of lending to people who want to buy homes. "We continue to see good growth in residential mortgages," Paul Donofrio, finance chief at Bank of America Corp , said on Tuesday. New mortgages were the primary driver of loan growth in its consumer bank last quarter. However, mortgage banking revenue fell 26 percent because the bank has been keeping more loans on its balance sheet, which generates income over time, rather than selling them to investors for quick fees. At Wells Fargo & Co , the biggest U.S. home lender, its mortgage banking revenue of $1.4 billion was down 19 percent from the year-ago period. A variety of factors hurt results, including the sale of a legacy portfolio of risky loans, but Wells saw improved credit quality among borrowers, and strong demand for mortgages to purchase new homes. The bank sees "huge opportunities" in growing first and second mortgages, Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan said. "I wouldn't throw in the towel on the mortgage business," said Sloan. JPMorgan Chase & Co , PNC Financial Services Group Inc , Citigroup Inc have also reported mortgage banking revenue declines of 19 percent to 41 percent. Starting in 2009, banks began to benefit from a surge in mortgage refinancing, thanks to rock-bottom Continue Reading

Not in a hallway, not in a text: committee warns U.S. House on campaigning

By Lisa Lambert WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A single, short electronic message can land a U.S. lawmaker in heaps of trouble, even when it does not include lewd photos or inappropriate language. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics on Tuesday reminded the chamber's members they are not allowed to draft, edit, comment on or send campaign communications from a House building, regardless of a message's length or form. It added they should not engage in campaign-related activity even in a hallway, office or cafeteria, and ethics rules also apply to messages sent from personal devices. "In this age of always-on mobile communications, members may find it impractical or unreasonable to have to exit a House building before sending a three-word campaign email," the committee wrote. "However, that is what the relevant law, rules, and regulations require." The 14-page report wrapped up an investigation into Representative Ben Ray Lujan, who joined fellow Democrats more than a year ago in a sit-in supporting a measure that would have blocked suspected terrorists from buying guns. Lujan chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which currently recruiting candidates for the 2018 elections, and his office cast the case as "politically motivated." "Congressman Luján is committed to abiding by House rules and will continue to do so in the future," said his communications director, Joe Shoemaker. Social media lit up during the sit-in and television endeavored to cover it around the clock, even when House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, turned off cameras and microphones. At one point Lujan forwarded a campaign volunteer a copy of an email asking people to sign a petition with the message: "Get something out." Because he may have sent those three ambiguous words while in the chamber, he risked running afoul of strict limitations meant to ensure representatives, who must run for re-election every other year, do Continue Reading

U.S. House Dems reject Deutsche Bank privacy claim in Trump query

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - U.S. House Democrats rejected an assertion by Deutsche Bank that privacy laws prevent it from sharing information about President Donald Trump's finances, as they investigate possible collusion between his campaign team and Russia. In a letter to the bank's lawyers made public on Thursday, five Democrats who have been seeking financial information about Trump argued U.S. federal laws protecting banking customers' confidentiality did not apply to requests from Congress. The bank could also circumvent privacy concerns by obtaining disclosure consent from the president and his family, they said. "Given President Trump's repeated assertions that he does not have ties to Russia, such disclosure would ostensibly be in his interest," they wrote. Deutsche Bank said on Thursday that its lawyers would respond "in due course." "We reiterate that while we seek to cooperate, we must obey the law," the bank said in an emailed statement. Investigations are underway in Washington into claims of collusion between Trump's inner circle and Russia during his 2016 presidential campaign - which both the president and Moscow have denied. Public records show Deutsche Bank loaned Trump millions of dollars for real-estate ventures. As well as details about those transactions, the lawmakers are seeking information about a Russian "mirror trading" scheme that allowed $10 billion to flow out of Russia. In January, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay $630 million in fines over the scheme, which could have been used to launder money out of Russia. NO POWER TO COMPEL In the letter, dated Wednesday, Maxine Waters, ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, and four peers reiterated requests for information and gave Deutsche Bank until June 29 to respond. They first asked the bank in May to share what it might know about Trump's real-estate business and whether the president had financial backing from Russia. Deutsche Continue Reading

Lawsuit: Parents say registered sex offender who molested their daughter should be forced to buy their house

The parents of a young Pennsylvania girl who was sexually molested by their neighbor have sued the man in a bid to force him to buy their house. The child's parents said they don't want to live next to Oliver Beck and "are under duress to move." Their lawsuit, filed in Lehigh County Court in Allentown, said his presence is "ultra-hazardous given the close proximity" of Beck to the victim and their two other daughters. Beck, 65, pleaded guilty in September 2011 to indecent assault of a child under 13 and was sentenced to three to 23 months in prison. After his release, he moved back to his home near Emmaus, about 55 miles north of Philadelphia. The suit contends the plaintiff's house is now "virtually unmarketable" because their neighbor is a registered sex offender. They want Beck to buy their house for $350,000, which they say is the fair-market value plus fees and expenses related to moving to a new home. Beck's lawyer has asked a judge to dismiss that portion of the suit, saying the law does not entitle the plaintiffs to force Beck to buy their home. The family, identified by their initials, bought the house in 2005. The lawsuit said Beck befriended the couple and groomed the girl with gifts and rides on a 4-wheeler, then molested her in his basement, videotaping the Feb. 2, 2011 assault. The girl, who was born in 2003, told her mother and the attack was reported to authorities. In response to the family's demand for compensation for their home, attorney Robert Magee cited a 1998 state appeals court ruling that said a plaintiff who lived next to a toxic-waste site couldn't collect damages from an inability to sell the home. Legal precedent has established that "this is just a type of injury that allows for no recourse, an injury without a remedy," Magee wrote in court papers filed last week. Magee declined comment Thursday to The Associated Press. Attorneys for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to a request Continue Reading

U.S. House measure to halt casino near Glendale fails

The U.S. House on Monday evening rejected quick passage of a bill intended to block the Tohono O'odham Nation from opening a controversial casino near Glendale in the West Valley.House members voted 263 to 146, with 25 abstentions, to support the Keep the Promise Act, but the tally fell short of the two-thirds threshold necessary to advance the measure on what's called the suspension calendar.The future of the proposal, which was introduced by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., was uncertain. The measure was intended to quash the years-long drive by the Tohono O'odham to open a Las Vegas-style gaming hall near Glendale."Unfortunately, Congress failed to reassert its long established history of regulating, managing, and working with tribes on tribal trust land, specifically where this unlawful casino is being built," Franks said in a statement."I am disappointed that some of my colleagues voted to allow the Tohono O'odham tribe to disregard their end of the deal and dishonor their promise to the other tribes and to Arizonans," he said.The tribe, however, applauded the outcome.Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Edward D. Manuel said, “Today, David beat Goliath again. The special interests spent $17 million trying to rush this harmful bill through, but in the end it came down to the facts. The more that members of Congress examine this legislation, the more they recognize how harmful it is for Arizona workers, the Nation, and tribes across the U.S.”The legislation, House Resolution 308, would have halted new casinos from opening in the Phoenix area until the current casino agreement between Arizona's tribes and voters expires in 2027.Hours before the vote, Franks said the tribe had acted contrary to its public comments when the gaming compact was negotiated."One Tucson-area tribe is trying to build a major casino on lands that were deceptively purchased in the Phoenix metropolitan area at the very time they were in Continue Reading

It’s cheaper to buy a house than rent in Phoenix area, study says

It is much cheaper to buy a house than rent one in the Phoenix area, according to a new housing survey. WEDNESDAY'S NEWS: Hines buys 'Elevation Chandler' land for new mixed-use project TUESDAY'S NEWS: Shea Homes plans Trilogy retirement community in Wickenburg IN THE SOUTHEAST VALLEY : Del Webb to build retirement community in Chandler MONDAY'S NEWS: Phoenix commercial market starting to recover, experts sayBuying in metro Phoenix is as much as 34 percent cheaper than renting a house, based on current home prices, rents, types of mortgages and interest rates. The comparison comes from home-buying website Trulia, but the data appears to be unbiased.Falling interest rates over the past few weeks have made buying more affordable for most people. The average rate for a 30-year mortgage is 4.12 percent, according to Freddie Mac. That's compares with 4.23 a month ago.Nationally, Trulia says buying is now 38 percent cheaper than renting if you stay in a house seven years, get a 30-year mortgage, put 20 percent down, itemize deductions at the 25 percent tax bracket and get a 4.3 percent mortgage rate. The formula also takes into account closing costs, insurance, maintenance and taxes.What is really surprising about the survey is that buying is cheaper in all of the U.S.'s 100 largest metro areas.The benefit is the smallest in Honolulu, where purchasing a house is 17 percent less expensive than renting. Detroit home buyers get the best deal because Trulia found it's 63 percent cheaper to own than rent. Continue Reading

MMA fighter Holly Holm’s brother buys Eddie’s House in Scottsdale

Just days after Josh Hebert closed Posh Restaurant comes word that another of downtown Scottsdale’s iconic chefs has decided it’s time for something new.Chef Eddie Matney, a three-decade veteran of the Valley dining scene beloved for his intense enthusiasm and eclectic menus, has sold his restaurant, Eddie’s House, to business partners Weston Holm and Duane Koch. Holm is the brother of renowned mixed martial arts fighter Holly Holm, who will have a role in the new farm-to-table restaurant and distillery opening in the space later this year.Matney has helmed Eddie's House at Indian School Road and Marshall Way since 2008.“There comes a time every nine or 10 years that you have to redo a restaurant. It came to that time, it’s run its course and a positive opportunity came up,” he told The Republic.Matney is no stranger to the increasing economic pressures on Valley restaurants, having navigated Eddie’s House through bankruptcy proceedings in 2014. But having closed the sale of the restaurant last week, he is champing to dive into a new project.“I still love it,” Matney said. “I get a rush out of cooking an over easy egg. I’m looking for other things that will come across my plate, and there are so many different opportunities out there that I’m open to anything.”Matney expressed excitement for the restaurant’s new tenants, who are bringing a new concept to the space.“Blue Clover is going to be a restaurant and distillery with scratch kitchen foods and a little taste of the Southwest in there,” said Holm, who previously worked in the oil industry, distilling liquids of a different sort.A native of Albuquerque, Weston Holm grew up in a farming family. The name “Blue Clover” is a reference to the Irish and Danish heritage of his grandparents, who met on a boat en route to Ellis Island and Continue Reading

5 things every service member needs to consider before buying a house

Buying a house is a serious commitment of not only your time and energy but also your money.For each person considering buying a home, there are different pros and cons. When you’re in the military, there is an extra degree of difficulty: you don’t always have a lot of time to make that choice. Oftentimes, service members decide to buy a house in a rush and forget to consider some important factors that should go into such a large purchase.Here are five things to think over before you commit to buy a house at your next duty station. 1. Time on stationConsider how long you could potentially be at your duty station. Is it going to be less than two years? Buying a home is a long-term commitment, and you’ll want to be able to keep the house for at least as long as it will take you to recoup your investment before you try to sell it again. If you know you’ll be at your duty station for only a year, this may not be the time to buy a house unless you know you’ll be back. 2. PCS ordersIt’s probably just a matter of time before you get orders again. Before you buy a home, you should have a plan for what happens to the house when you receive new orders. Will you sell it or rent it out? Know what your goals are for buying and selling the house before you make the commitment to purchase one. More: Buying a home? Ask your partner these 4 questions first More: These are the best cities for women to buy a home More: U.S. homebuilder sentiment falls in September 3. LocationSome people like to live close to base so they can go home after physical training or to avoid traffic. Others want to live far away from base to get away from work.Visit the house you’re interested in purchasing when your family and neighbors would be at home and at the times you’ll be commuting to work. During those times, you’ll have a more realistic picture of what day-to-day living will be like if you get the Continue Reading