March 31st, 2017

Found Money: Pump Up Down Payment Savings

Posted by at 12:12 pm

Spring has sprung, and home shopping couldn’t be hotter. Don’t let the daunting prospect of a down payment scare you from joining all the other potential first-timers exploring the housing market. First of all, there are many options, even if you haven’t saved the standard 20 percent. Many government and private organizations offer Down Payment Assistance (DPA) programs for low and moderate-income borrowers. But besides exploring DPAs, consider some ways to save that might make that first “bulk” payment a little easier. Automatic reaction: Most of us aren’t automatic savers by nature, so set up a process with your bank to deduct a percentage of your paycheck into a  dedicated Home Savings Account. Just like your health insurance and 401 K, allocate a certain amount to go directly into a savings account or money market account. Not seeing the money go from...
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March 22nd, 2017

Home equity helps Americans grow wealth

Posted by at 2:24 pm

In 2016, 1 million American homeowners rode cresting home prices into positive equity territory. Just 6.2 percent, or 3.17 million U.S. homes, remain in negative equity, down from an all-time high of 26 percent in 2009, per a new report from real estate data analysis firm CoreLogic. Negative equity, or being “underwater,” is when a homeowner owes more on a mortgage than the mortgaged property is worth. If home prices rise another 5 percent, another 600,000 homes would re-emerge into positive territory. Equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on your mortgage. Through mortgage payments, and home appreciation, equity grows. Building equity is a critical part of creating lifelong financial stability. Since the home pricing trough of 2011, Americans have more than doubled home equity, to more than $12 trillion. An Urban...
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March 15th, 2017

Now appearing in print! Your next home?

Posted by at 9:52 am

San Francisco startup Apis Cor recently announced completion of a 400-square foot home in the Russian town of Stupino, constructed almost entirely with a 3-D printer. More correctly referred to as “additive manufacturing,” the concept of “printing” a new home seems beyond futurism – even bordering on fiction. “Star Trek” and “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” each suggested “beaming” things or people from one place to another by breaking them down to the atomic level – reminiscent of assembling a full TV picture out of thousands of tiny pixels. But 3-D printing is science fact – more akin to the way an inkjet printer puts ink onto a piece of paper. The computer printer builds three-dimensional objects from raw materials one thin layer at a time. Through evolving methods, it fuses the material together, and a physical framework emerges – at breathtaking speeds...
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Buying Young

Posted by at 12:12 pm

  Buyers under the age of 35 are leading the way as consumer confidence in the housing market rises near all-time highs heading into the spring of 2017. In its February installment of the National Housing Survey, Fannie Mae saw surging Millennial confidence in the housing market, even with mortgage rates seemingly poised to rise, and home prices at near-record levels. Along with more job security and increasing income, Millennial home buyers are increasingly married with children – all three legs of the home demand stool. Nearly half (49 percent) of Millennial buyers reported at least one child – up from 45 percent last year and 43 percent two years ago. As with every aspect of the marketplace, young buyers with children are the key to shaping the future of real estate. With more kids in tow, more of these...
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Unmarried couples sign cohabitation agreements

Posted by at 2:36 pm

Many couples aren’t waiting for the bonds of matrimony before entering another partnership with similar monumental responsibilities – buying a home. According to research from real estate website Zillow, 15 percent of unmarried couples between the ages of 24 and 35 are making the move to purchase a home together, up from 11 percent in 2005. Generally armed with lots of debt, but two solid incomes, the idea is to get into the housing market as soon as possible. To be sure, co-ownership can soften the financial blow. But a whole new set of problems can arise when and if couples break up. Many do. One or both parties will still be liable for the monthly mortgage payments. Unlike marriage and divorce, there is no legal process for dividing shared assets. A solution is the “cohabitation agreement,” which like a marriage “pre-nup,” protects a person’s...
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