BUYERS BEHOLD: CLOSING COSTS ARE ON THE WAY DOWN

Despite rising home prices nationwide, wannabe house owners can take comfort in one thing: Closing costs are dropping. The closing fees associated with borrowing for a home have fallen seven percent over the past year, now averaging around $1,850 on a $200,000 loan, according to Bankrate.com. The research firm sought an online estimate from lenders in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., on the closing costs for getting $200,000 mortgage on a single-family home, with a 20 percent down payment. An important take-away from the survey: Homebuyers have more say over closing costs than they might expect. Bankrate advises people to compare closing prices, noting that costs vary among lenders. Click here to read more.               Continue reading

REMODELING ROI: WHERE SHOULD YOU SPEND ON HOME IMPROVEMENT?

Whether you're looking to sell or stay put, you'll save money on these home improvement projects. The possibilities are endless when it comes to remodeling and upgrading your house, and deciding where to put your precious dollars can be tough. Many of these remodeling decisions can be made based on whether or not you're planning to stay in your home long term. Let's take a look at the places where a $10,000 investment in your home can go the furthest. Click here to read more.               Continue reading

THE CREDIT CONUNDRUM: IS ACCESS TO CREDIT GETTING EASIER?

This was supposed to be the year that getting a mortgage would become easier. Now that we’re halfway through, we’ve seen home sales and closings substantially improve over last year, including by first-time buyers. This must mean that access to credit is getting better, right? Well, it doesn’t look that way. After mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac clarified their credit qualification standards last fall to encourage lenders to ease their requirements, it seems like credit access would improve. And then the Federal Housing Administration lowered its insurance premiums, and Fannie and Freddie introduced new low-down-payment programs for qualified buyers. Click here to read more.             Continue reading

TAKING THE STRESS OUT OF HOME INSPECTIONS

No matter whether you’re buying or selling, the home inspection process can be somewhat terrifying: For sellers, it’s a stark reminder of the nagging issues you might have turned a blind eye to over the years. And for buyers, it’s a recipe for pure heartbreak—falling in love with a home that might just end up making no sense to buy. But don’t let the inspection stress you out. And remember, that’s not what your inspector wants either—all he or she wants is a comprehensive to-do list and a happy client. So form a team with your home inspector to make the process easier and more effective. Knowledge is key! Here are seven essential things you keep in mind. Click here to read more.             Continue reading

CALIFORNIA DOMINATES THE LIST OF HOTTEST HOUSING MARKETS

It’s a height-of-summer tradition: The U.S. housing market tends to peak in July or August. And while demand this year remains strong, a preliminary analysis of our site’s data for July shows that housing inventory—homes available for sale—is finally starting to catch up. Sort of. “We are now entering the time of the year when both inventory and demand typically reach their peak,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of realtor.com®. “The dog days of summer slow down the pace of activity, just as the school year creeps closer. “This year we’re seeing inventory continue to grow in July, albeit at a slower pace than this spring,” he continued. “And while demand overall is strong, the trend in median days on market is suggesting that the market is finding more of a balance, which bodes well for more moderate price appreciation in the months ahead.” Click here to read more.             Continue reading

DOES DOWNSIZING ADD UP?

It's a common bit of retirement advice: Downsize your housing after the kids leave the nest to cut costs. Interestingly, though, many baby boomers have no intentions of downsizing. Nearly two-thirds of boomers surveyed in 2013 by The Demand Institute -- a nonprofit owned by Nielsen -- plan to "age in place" rather than move. Of those who do plan to move, nearly half said they plan to increase the size of their home or pay more for a comparably sized home. Many people assume that downsizing housing saves money. But does it really? It can, especially if you're able to cash in on the equity you've built up. But there are a lot of factors that can actually result in higher housing costs once you downsize. Click here to read more.             Continue reading

IN IT TO WIN IT: HOW TO WRITE A WINNING OFFER

You've found it: the house of your dreams. In fact, you went home last night and played a little game of Where Does the Sofa Go? But before you can say "home sweet home," there's an offer to be made -- and it has to be accepted before you can move that sofa into the living room. While these three tips don't guarantee your offer will be chosen, they will help you be competitive so you're one step closer to landing your dream home. 1. Carefully consider your approach. If you think your dream home's listing price is just a place to begin negotiations, think again. First, have a conversation with your real estate agent. Look for similar homes and recent sales in the area. Click here to read more.             Continue reading

SHOW ME THE MONEY: THE MOST EXPENSIVE SALES IN LOS ANGELES REAL ESTATE THIS PAST WEEK

The homes of an action film star, a movie producer and a celebrity hostess were among the most expensive residential real estate transactions in the greater Los Angeles area this past week. $11.2 million — Pacific Palisades A Traditional-style home in the 900 block of Corsica Drive changed hands for the second time this year for $11.2 million. The 9,104-square-foot home, complete with library, screening room and an elevator, previously sold in March for $10.995 million. Click here to read more.             Continue reading

BUYERS REJOICE! REDFIN’S NEW HOUSING INDEX DEMAND SUGGESTS HOME PRICE GROWTH WILL SLOW IN AUGUST

Redfin, the next-generation real estate brokerage, today announced that U.S. homebuyer demand, an early indicator of housing-market performance, was up 13 percent year over year in June. This is according to the Redfin Housing Demand Index, which debuted today at a level of 113, with a baseline of 100 starting in January 2013. Although June demand is up compared to last year, it’s a smaller increase than in previous months. In 2015, the Demand Index followed a similar seasonal pattern to previous years, increasing from January to April, then beginning to decline. However, this year’s 6.7 percent decline from May to June is steeper than the 3.9 percent decrease for the same period in 2014. The Demand Index is based on millions of visits to Redfin.com home listing pages, and thousands of Redfin customers requesting home tours and writing offers in 15 major metro areas.  Click here to read more.           Continue reading

CHINESE INVESTMENT IN OFFSHORE REAL ESTATE CONTINUES TO RISE

While China's stock market has been experiencing record drops and whipsaw volatility in 2015, China driven outbound capital flows to commercial real estate in last four years experienced a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 72% to reach over $10 billion for the year 2014. This is according to CBRE's recently published report, The Expanding Role of Chinese Capital in Global Real Estate Markets. This is the first time annual flows have exceeded the $10 billion mark. China also accounted for over a quarter of total outbound commercial real estate investment from Asia during 2013 and 2014.What began with China's sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) and tier-one insurers purchasing high-profile trophy assets abroad has now spread to acquisitions by mid-tier insurers and corporate investors. Meanwhile, Chinese real estate developers have also been quite active, expanding into overseas markets in a bid to meet increasing demand from mainland HNWIs for residential assets in key destinations. Click here to read more.           Continue reading