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2001 Strong YearFor Real Estate Despite terrorist attacks, recession, rising unemployment, and hard times on Wall Street, residential real estate did well in 2001. According to the National Association of Realtors, 5.20 million homes were expected to be sold in 2001. The record? 5.21 million in 1999. And this year, says NAR, should be a repeat of 2001. NAR also says that the national median existing-home price for 2001 was $146,600, an increase of 5.5 percent over the year 2000. Not only were existing home sales strong, new home
Mortgage RatesU.S. averages as of December 27, 2001:
30 yr. fixed: 7.16%15 yr. fixed: 6.65%1 yr. adj: 5.25%30 yr. jumbo: 6.98%-->
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construction was also at peak levels. New home production in 2001 is expected to reach 888,000 -- an increase of about 11,000 units over 2000, according to the National Association of
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New Or Old? The Debate Continues As you embark on your venture to buy a home, one of the first decisions to make is whether to buy new or to purchase an existing home. Each choice has its advantages, and there is no single answer which works for everyone. Existing homes offer many considerations for potential homebuyers, including:
Maintenance And Repair. If you're considering an existing home, be sure you have a good handle on the working status of all major systems. Hire a professional home inspector to check out the house. As appliances and systems age they naturally require repair and replacement, something which may be reflected in a purchase price.
Existing Features. When you buy an existing home, you typically don't have to worry about buying the extras, such as blinds for the window, fences, built-in cabinets, a security system, or a
Questions Every Contractor Wishes You Would Ask You've spent countless hours dreaming about the day when you would finally transform your kitchen or bathroom to mirror the modern display at your local home improvement store. Or perhaps the time has come to launch a remodeling project with an eye toward getting your home in top shape so you can place it on the market. If you're one of the 26 million homeowners who makes improvements to their homes in a given year, then you should heed the wisdom of professional contractors, who say that most people who seek professional help ask the wrong questions in their search for a contractor. While it's important to known "when can you start," "when will you finish," and "how much," there are other questions homeowners should ask. NARI -- the National Association of the Remodeling Industry -- recommends that you ask these questions in your search for a contractor:
How long have you been in business?
Who will be the project supervisor?
Will employees or subcontractors be working on the project?
Does the company carry workers
Vacation Homes Get Hot Despite the recession, increased unemployment, and ups and downs on Wall Street, second home sales have risen substantially in the past few years. Often purchased as vacation or retirement properties, second homes clocked an estimated 415,000 sales in 2000, up 10 percent from 1999 according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The year 2000 estimate is up 40 percent compared with the 296,000 second homes sold in 1995. Why so many second-home purchases? The economic expansion during the past decade has created extraordinary equity growth in primary residences and bullish stock market returns. Also, the Taxpayers Relief Act of 1997 allows qualifying owners to keep more of their profit when they sell a prime residence -- money often used to purchase a
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