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Real Estate's Hidden Asset Every few months, after the last predictions of a real estate bubble have passed, it's always useful to consider the latest forecasts of disaster. "After an amazing four-year boom in residential real estate," says Business Week, "the housing market could finally be topping out and heading for a downturn. The culprit: rising interest rates. Housing prices could then flatten on a national level in the next year or so while taking a spill in overheated coastal markets." (Is The Housing Bubble About To Burst? July 19, 2004) Such articles make a useful point: Real estate values, like stock market
Mortgage Rates U.S. averages as of August 26, 2004:30 yr. fixed: 5.82%15 yr. fixed: 5.21%1 yr. adj: 4.05%30 yr. jumbo: 6.98%-->
View current rates
prices, can rise and fall. Yet the art of forecasting seems awfully difficult: How many stock analysts foresaw the Wall Street crash, the Internet bubble or the fall of so many
Wondering What Your Home Is Worth?Let me show you.
It's Time To Get ReadyFor The Fall Market The fall real estate season is gearing up, and if you are planning to put your house on the market after Labor Day, you need to start getting on the stick. Here are some things to think about. First impressions, no matter what kind of market it is, can make or break a sale. The professionals call this curb appeal. The idea is to make the exterior sparkle. Sparkle can be achieved in a variety of ways. The most obvious is by cleaning, painting and landscaping. Clean the mildew off the porch surfaces and the window frames, and paint them if they need it. Rake leaves and pick up papers. Buy plenty of mulch to give the still-empty flower beds a warm, inviting look. If you do not have a front porch or front yard, consider window boxes, or put some heavy-duty pots by the entrance and fill them with flowers. If the house does not have shutters, and shutters do not clash with the architectural style, buy some. Polish the brass doorknobs, knockers and mail
Five Financial Fiascos To Avoid When Buying A Home When's the last time you checked out your credit scores? A lot of us don't think much about our credit until it's time to purchase a home and then it may be too late. Avoiding these five common financial fiascos can save you money and headaches.
Not knowing your credit history. "Not investigating whether the credit problem is accurately reported on the credit report; 95 percent of them aren't," said John Ramsay, Senior Loan Officer at Mortgage Partners Inc. Bankruptcy, for instance, is hardly ever reported correctly. Bureaus will frequently still report that a person owes money, even if it was paid off in the bankruptcy, but somehow it was filed incorrectly. Ramsay said, "If you have a credit problem, fix it if you can."
Not getting a written estimate. When borrowers are shopping around loans, one of the biggest mistakes they make is not asking for a written estimate. It's hard to compare loan programs if you don't have them in writing. "It's a bad sign if they won't give it to you in writing ... If you get three written estimates you can compare apples to apples," Ramsay said. Otherwise clients may not be able to ask the exact same questions so that they can compare different sources.
The Price Of Staying Cool When the country heats up over the summer months, the price of staying cool will get more expensive in the years to come. Starting in January 2006, all home units of central air conditioning and heat pump systems will have to reach a 30 percent higher level of energy efficiency. The US Department of Energy is hoping that the mandate will cool the need for new power plants and keep energy consumption under control. "That'll save a minimum 23 percent on every new home or air conditioning system sold in the United States, 23 percent less electricity used," says Steven Bouman, Energy Marketing Specialist for Mohave Electric Cooperative in Bullhead City, Arizona.
CONTINUED >>>Local Market Conditions
Daily News and Advice -->Read about the events shaping the Real Estate market today, find current interest rates, or browse the extensive library of advice and how-to articles written by some of the top experts in Real Estate. Updated each weekday.
August Roundup: Mortgage Rates Remain Flat
Capital Gains Exceptions Finalized
The Scoop On Pre-Payment Penalties
Most ARMs Held By Homeowners Are Less Risky Type
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