Forget the Double Dip: 3 Good Reasons to Buy a House Anyway

Last Updated May 31, 2011 10:48 AM EDT The stream of depressing housing numbers continues to roll in. The closely watched Case Schiller index of housing prices dropped below its April 2009 low, indicating that housing is now officially in a double dip nationwide, and 31% below its peak in the spring of 2006. That's discouraging news for the economy, since homeowners aren't likely to feel like splurging if their biggest asset is crashing and they're under water on their mortgage. And the farther under water you get, the greater the the temptation to walk away from your mortgage, dumping more inventory on an already glutted market. It's hard to find a lot of good news in all this. Still, it's an ill wind that blows no one any good, and there is one group that stands to benefit from the housing market's travails: Buyers. Only problem: They don't seem to care. A New York Times story this morning suggests that not only are many potential buyers frozen out of the market-stuck in underwater mortgages, unemployed, or unable to qualify for mortgages-but even those who could buy don't want to go into hock to acquire a depreciating asset. The Times quotes one such "renter by choice:"Susan Lindsey, a San Diego software programmer, was once eagerly waiting for the housing market to crash. She said she would have no guilt about swooping in on some foreclosed owner who had bought a place he could not afford. With prices now down by a third, however, she is content to stay in her $2,500-a-month rented house. She prefers to invest in gold, which she has been buying since 2003. You can judge for yourself the wisdom of an investor turning up her nose at an asset that is now 31% cheaper than it was in 2006 so that she can buy one that is 150% more expensive. But it's not hard to imagine her feeling very comfortable making the opposite trade five years ago. Human nature is predictable, if not always optimized for investment success. If, unlike Susan Lindsey, you are considering Continue Reading

5 Epic Fights All Couples Are Bound to Have When Trying to Buy a House

Few things test new love like buying a house together. Here are some arguments you two lovebirds are bound to have—and how to resolve them. Stephanie Booth, provided by Published 1:30 pm, Wednesday, February 14, 2018 Photo: HDesert/iStock; Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Photo: HDesert/iStock; 5 Epic Fights All Couples Are Bound to Have When Trying to Buy a House 1 / 1 Back to Gallery First comes love, then comes marriage, next comes ... escrow, closing costs, and school district squabbles? Few things (aside from bachelor parties) test new love quite like buying a house together. Which makes sense: With real estate, there's an awful lot on the line. As such, “small tensions and challenges tend to become inflated, difficult obstacles,” explains Carla Marie Manly, a real estate broker and licensed psychologist in Santa Rosa, CA. So if you and your significant other are house hunting, brace yourselves from some spats! Here are a few of the arguments you two lovebirds are bound to get sucked into, and how to resolve them so you can create your love nest—without nearly coming unhitched in the process. Fight No. 1: Where to buy a home Many couples disagree on where they want to settle down—because location affects so much in terms of daily commutes, school districts, and of course price. Home & Real Estate Channel Now Playing: Now Playing Is the Valley heading towards a real estate bubble? Fox10Phoenix Of Course the Kitchen Inside Rachael Ray's $4.9 Million Hamptons Home Is Perfect JW Player Hot housing market in the South Bay KTVU Chicago real estate broker gets concealed carry license Chicago Tribune This Is the Insanely Large Home That Millennials Continue Reading

Want to Buy a New Home This Year? Check Out the 2018 New Construction Forecast

Builders are expected to put up more new construction in the year ahead—but the rate of building is likely to slow, say housing economists. Clare Trapasso, provided by Published 2:00 pm, Tuesday, January 9, 2018 Photo: Gerenme/iStock Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Photo: Gerenme/iStock Want to Buy a New Home This Year? Check Out the 2018 New Construction Forecast 1 / 1 Back to Gallery Home buyers have heard it all before: There aren't enough homes on the market, prices are rising rapidly, and builders aren't putting up enough new abodes. Sorry, buyers. It's not likely to get better in 2018. Builders are expected to put up more new construction in the year ahead—but the rate of building is likely to slow, according to several housing economists who spoke on Tuesday at the International Builders Show. The show is hosted by the National Association of Home Builders in Orlando, FL. About 653,000 newly built homes will be sold in 2018, up 5.4% from 2017, predicts NAHB's Chief Economist Robert Dietz. That may sound impressive, but the growth rate is down from 10.5% in 2017. And those additional homes aren't nearly enough to meet demand. "There will be modest growth," Dietz said at the show. "We're going to see some changes in the types of homes that are being sold by builders, with more lower-priced offerings." But "lower-priced" is in the eye of the beholder—many cash-strapped, first-time, and millennial buyers won't be able to get in on the action. Dietz defines this category as costing less than $350,000. The national median home price was $269,900 as of Dec. 1, according to the most recent® data available. Home & Real Estate Channel Now Playing: Now Playing How Much House Can You REALLY Afford Brandpoint Continue Reading

Bitcoin is booming in Miami. But can you buy a house with it?

They gathered in downtown Miami — an estimated 4,350 Bitcoin believers — to trade pitches for apps and start-ups. They discussed and debated trends in cryptocurrency. They speculated about the volatility of Bitcoin, which shot up in value from $900 to $19,000 over the course of 2017 and is currently hovering around the $10,000 mark. But despite the national stir created last fall when a $544,500 Edgewater condo was listed for sale in “Bitcoin only,” none of the panels or presentations at Miami’s sixth annual North American Bitcoin Conference focused on real estate. Although Bitcoin is the oldest and best-known of the nearly 1,500 kinds of cryptocurrencies currently available, real estate developers, brokers and analysts are cool on its use in an industry that is literally defined by physical assets. In other words, if you’re hunting for a home, don’t worry that you’ll get outbid by a buyer offering cryptocurrency. At least not yet. “I think it’s fine to buy Bitcoin, because high risks lead to high returns, and I believe in capitalism,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist for Redfin, a national real estate brokerage. “But when you come to buy my house, I’m going to need a currency that I can use to buy milk at the grocery store. I wouldn’t accept junk bonds or a lottery ticket as a payment. Any currency that drops 45 percent in value within three months, like Bitcoin has done, is not a currency that is stable enough for large transactions.” According to Redfin, only 134 out of the site’s total 568,000 listings in December 2017 — a miniscule .03 percent — included a Bitcoin mention. Created in 2009, Bitcoin is digital currency tracked on decentralized ledgers — called blockchains — that keep a real-time, immutable record of every transaction made around the world. Buyer and seller interact directly. Bitcoins can be purchased through a digital Continue Reading

How to Sell a House in 2018: 5 Tips to Get the Edge This Year

Want to know how to sell a house in 2018? It's a new year, and that brings a new breed of buyer to your front door. Here's how to reel in an offer. Rachel Hartman, provided by Published 1:30 pm, Monday, January 15, 2018 Photo: Chesky_W/iStock Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Photo: Chesky_W/iStock How to Sell a House in 2018: 5 Tips to Get the Edge This Year 1 / 1 Back to Gallery If you want to know how to sell a house in 2018, face the facts: It's a new year, and that brings a new breed of home buyers to your front door. Knowing who these buyers are—as well as what they love and loathe in a home—is critical to fielding a great offer. Today's buyers have very particular tastes and turnoffs that could mean your home gets snapped up fast, or sits on the sidelines. If you want your home sale to succeed, heed these tips. 1. Market to millennials Those darn millennials are growing up! In fact, people in this age group (who are basically in their mid-20s to mid-30s) could make up 43% of home buyers taking out a mortgage by the end of 2018. Home & Real Estate Channel Now Playing: Now Playing What Tax Reform Means for Real Estate Investors Cheddar TV The 'Donald Trump of China' Has Made More Money Than Any Other Billionaire in 2017 TMTime Will Solar Increase My Home Value Money Talks News These Cities Are Where Your Paycheck Is Worth the Most Brandpoint Won't Someone Buy This Historic Home? CountryLiving HOA mandatory membership for golf club - Ask a real estate pro Sun-Sentinel See Inside Elon Musk’s $72 Million Bel Air Mansions Money Enjoy small town, beach life at Beachside. Texas Waterfront Marketing, Houston Chronicle How Is Morgan Stanley Making A Boatload Of Money Continue Reading

Ask an expert: How can I get approved to buy a co-op as a pied-a-terre?

Q. My wife and I want to buy an apartment in Manhattan to use on the weekends. We would rather buy a co-op as they're more affordable than condos, but many co-op buildings don't allow pied-a-terre purchases and some say they'll consider on a 'case-by-case' basis. What criteria do boards consider? How can we help ensure that we'll be approved? A. Co-op boards have two primary reservations about residents who intend to use the apartment as a secondary residence, say our experts. "Some are concerned that pied-a-terre purchasers will not be able to afford a second home if financial trouble comes and that it will take second priority," says Roberta Axelrod, a real estate broker and asset manager at Time Equities. "Some are concerned that it is simply a cover for investors who will rent out the apartment or use it as a hotel--either for money or for friends and family." Documenting that "you can afford the apartment and being willing to pay a year's maintenance up front or put some money in escrow does the trick if the concerns are financial," says Axelrod. "Explaining who will be using the apartment and under what circumstances can be very helpful for use concerns." An acceptable explanation might be, "We want the apartment so that we can stay over after going to the opera, and we will not have guests in the apartment when we are not there," says Axelrod. Agrees real estate broker Shirley Hackel of Warburg Realty, "If you can show that you have a business in New York, and you will be using the apartment a night or two a week, and that you and your spouse are cultural aficionados with season weekend tickets to the opera, theater and ballet, and that your grown children live happily in their own apartments, you're likely to be considered favorably. If the board, however, is left to imagine that you will be giving the keys to your children, relatives and friends, you can be sure your application to purchase will be rejected. You need to provide the board Continue Reading

Phoenix home flips up 16 percent as aggressive investors find bargains

Many metro Phoenix homeowners have a new issue to deal with now that they have equity in their homes again.Letters, calls and knocks on the door from investors looking to buy Valley houses have ramped up.One day last week, I got a call on my cell phone from an investor wanting to buy my home for “far more than I owe on it.” A letter from a different investor arrived offering to pay cash and close in a few weeks, plus a card on my door from another investor asking me to call if I wanted to sell fast.And it seems like at every major Valley intersection, there are handwritten signs from investors looking to buy homes “for cash.”“The claims (from would-be buyers) seem to be nothing short of a miracle — top price, fast close, no closing costs, no brokerage fee, and they might even pay for my move," Scottsdale homeowner Lou Kissling recently told me about the offers he is receiving from investors.“I always laugh at the solicitations, thinking how can these companies pay top dollar when they have to turn around and sell that same house for maybe 10 to 20 percent higher to make a profit,” he said.Flips — homes bought and then resold within 180 days — are up 16 percent so far this year in metro Phoenix. But not necessarily because the many smaller investors soliciting homeowners to sell are successful.Real estate analyst Tom Ruff with The Information Market said flips are up mainly because the big real estate firms Opendoor and OfferPad buy Valley houses at market- rate prices and then resell them.Flippers typically pay bargain prices for houses that need work, fix them up and resell them for heftier profits than Opendoor or OfferPad. Those big firms typically don't buy houses that need a lot of work.This year through mid-October, 7,502 Valley homes have been bought and resold within 180 days.During the crash, most flippers could be found on the Maricopa County Courthouse steps bidding Continue Reading

National City Bank, owned by PNC, rebuffs Jamaica couple’s attempt to buy back foreclosed home

When a Jamaica couple found a way to come up with enough money to buy back their foreclosed home, they thought their personal version of the mortgage crisis nightmare was over. But the bank that now owns it has different plans for the home that Eric Claborn and Dorothea Moore bought in 2005. National City Bank will not sell the property back to the couple, even though they can match the bank's asking price of $400,000. "All the things the bank asked for, we had," said Claborn, who lives with Moore and seven of their children, nieces and nephews. "I'm just trying to keep the roof over my family's head." Claborn and Moore - like many of their neighbors in southeastern Queens - could not keep up with monthly payments after taking out two hefty mortgages totaling $550,000. Their home went into foreclosure in 2006 and was purchased by National City Bank in 2007. Since 2008, the husband and wife have been trying to strike a deal with the bank and buy it back. A court-negotiated stipulation in April 2009 gave both parties six months to "negotiate in good faith toward a fair price." The couple - along with Moore's father, who also lives at the house - made an initial offer of $350,000. The bank rejected it, setting its price at $400,000. "A negotiation is not naming your price and sticking to it," said Lynn Armentrout, a lawyer for the City Bar Justice Center, which represented the couple in 2009. When Claborn, 45, and Moore, 41, came up with enough money to meet the $400,000 asking price early this year, National City's lawyers told Armentrout that the offer was off the table. "Here's a guy who wants to buy the house and he's already living there," Armentrout said. "This seems to me to be the height of irresponsibility - to the financial institution, its investors, the community in which this house is located and the economy at large," she said. PNC Bank, which recently acquired National City, declined to comment about why it would not sell Continue Reading

With stock market falling, advice on what to do about 401(k)

Watching your 401(k) account plummet or gyrate these days may feel like covering your face and peeking between your fingers at a horror movie. RELATED: STOCKS ZIGZAG, END LOWER AFTER EMERGENCY RATE CUTStock market sages have always preached patience over panic. But with the Dow down 30% for the year and Wall Street in tatters, investors are questioning conventional wisdom. Charles Failla, a financial planner at Sovereign Financial Group, said they shouldn't. Q: Is it time to pull everything out and wait for the dust to settle? A: "To quote legendary investor John Bogle, 'Don't just do something, sit there.' "It's witty, but it is appropriate. Markets go up and markets go down. People say it's different this time. Well, it's never different."Q: How can people avoid panicking when their retirement accounts are getting crushed? A: "Look, no one likes to see their account down 20% to 30%. I'm down in my 401(k) like everyone else. But if you had a sound approach to begin with and you understand that this is the way markets work, you're okay. "The shorter your time horizon, the more unpredictable the markets will be. If you want to buy a house in two years, money for that goal should be invested conservatively. If you plan to retire in 20 years, money for that goal should be invested aggressively, 80% or more in stocks. "But if you have money invested in stocks for a [short] time horizon, you've got a big problem."Q: What if it took losing your shirt to get you to invest sensibly? A: "It's never too late, as painful as it might be. If the time horizon is short, get your money out and into a money market to stop the bleeding. Every case is different but, generally speaking, you have to bite the bullet and make the change. Recognize it was a mistake. "But if it is a long-term horizon, ride it out. The market will come back over time. It always does. In fact, I believe this is a great time to buy stocks for your long-term goals."Q: Was CNBC's Jim Cramer Continue Reading

Buy small in Manhattan now and trade up later

Q My husband and I rent a two-bedroom in Manhattan and would rather buy. We can't afford a luxury two-bedroom like we live in now. Should we keep renting or look outside Manhattan? A Your money will go futher outside the city. But if you don't want to leave Manhattan, and can't afford to buy a luxury two-bedroom, jump in there and buy yourself a nice one-bedroom, instead. Don't make the same mistake of most first-time buyers by delaying your purchase until you can afford exactly what you want. Get a foothold now, so you have something to trade up on later. Q My sons want to buy a two-family house together. They both have the down payment. Do they need separate lawyers and separate mortgages? A If your sons want to buy a house together, they should get one loan and one attorney. According to Michael Beckman of Beckman, Lieberman & Barandes LLP, one attorney can handle the sales contract and can draw up an agreement for the contribution of capital and for the cost of maintaining the place. Your sons should also have a buy/sell agreement so that if either wants to sell his half, the other should have the first right of refusal based on its appraised value. Q I own a two-family brownstone in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, that I've had on the market for several months. It's in good condition and was renovated eight years ago. Are there any investment groups who might be interested in taking it off my hands? A According to real-estate agent Adrian Thompkins, the Corcoran Group, you'll always get your best price from an individual. Investment groups don't pay top dollar — plus they expect substantial discounts at the expense of the seller. You say you renovated your house, but to today's savvy buyers eight years is a century ago and your price needs to reflect the need for new renovations. Several trends have come and gone in those eight years and shows like HGTV have raised people's expectations and the buyers' demands. Today, buyers are Continue Reading