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Hot Topic #1

Why Subprime Mortgages Are Back

Subprime mortgages – once the bad boys of real estate lending – are coming back. Figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis show that between 2007 and the start of 2013 subprime mortgages fell off the radar for most banks but now they have begun to make a significant comeback. What happened to […]

| February 3rd, 2014 | Continued

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Hot Topic #2

What’s A Qualified Mortgage In Real Estate

One of the better ideas to come out of the Wall Street Reform Act was to create something called a “qualified residential mortgage.” You want to know about such financing because most lenders will offer nothing else — and that’s good news for borrowers. Under Wall Street reform several federal agencies are supposed to work […]

| September 21st, 2010 | Continued

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Hot Topic #3

How To Read The HUD-1

Since January 1st, 2010, all real estate transactions have been settled using a new HUD-1. The HUD-1 is a standardized form which allows real estate buyers and sellers to clearly understand the costs of their transaction. The original HUD-1 was developed as a by-product of the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act of 1974 — […]

| November 8th, 2009 | Continued

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Hot Topic #4

How Do We Get Rid of the FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium?

Question: I bought a home with FHA financing. We have a monthly insurance premium (MIP) with each payment. How do we get rid of this cost? Answer: When you bought your home you purchased with little money up front, perhaps 3.5 percent down. This means a lender put up as much as 96.5 percent of […]

| October 20th, 2008 | Continued

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Hot Topic #5

What Are “Front” and “Back” Ratios?

Different loan programs use different calculations, or ratios, to qualify would-be borrowers. The “front” ratio is generally equal to your monthly costs for principal, interest, property taxes, and property insurance (what lenders call “PITI”). The “back” ratio includes the front ratio plus all regular monthly costs such as credit card payments and auto payments. For […]

| August 28th, 2008 | Continued

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Hot Topic #6

What’s A Title insurance Re-issue Rate?

It sometimes happens that a property is sold or refinanced more than once within a five- or ten-year period. In such instances, if title insurance is obtained from the same firm, it’s often possible to get a re-issue (discount) rate. The discount can represent a significant savings, thus it is worthwhile to ask if such […]

| August 26th, 2008 | Continued

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Real Estate: Why Paperwork Should Be Paper

Millions of settlements will take place this year and a growing number of them will involve the use of electronic documentation, a development which will be cheered by those who hope to speed the closing process and save a few trees while we’re at it. Unfortunately, and I don’t mean to dash anyone’s hopes, the […]

July 28th, 2014 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Should Real Estate Drones Be Banned?

Drones are coming to real estate. Indeed, they’re here now, you can easily find examples of their use online, and that raises some questions: Are they safe? What about privacy? Do you want someone’s drone flying over your nicely-fenced backyard? Drones are hot — 43 states introduced some type of drone legislation in 2013 according […]

July 21st, 2014 | | 1 comment | Continued
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Why Real Estate Prices Soar — And Fall — At The Same Time

The real estate market continues its divided course and there’s no better example than existing home sales: According to the National Association of Realtors transaction volume in May increased 4.9 percent when compared with April — but were down 5.0 percent when compared with May 2013. The grim reality is that when experts talk about […]

July 7th, 2014 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Real Estate: Vet Faces Foreclosure For Flying American Flag

On no, it’s happened again. A homeowners association is irate because someone is flying an American flag. According to various news reports 73-year-old Air Force vet Larry Murphree is allegedly facing foreclosure because of the manner in which he displays the American flag at his Florida condo. Murphree has a small flag in a flower […]

June 30th, 2014 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Real Estate: Why Neighborhood Crime Stats Are Wrong

Crime is a big problem and in the process of considering a move to a new city I wanted to see if I could compare crime rates between ZIP codes. I found a lot of numbers online and then stumbled onto a bastion of data sanity as well as a way to save nearly $150 […]

June 23rd, 2014 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Real Estate: Why Middle Class Homes Aren’t Selling

Despite the hopes of many the real estate marketplace has not returned to the era of rising prices and expanding home sales. The certainty that once powered real estate sales, the view that real estate was a sure and certain investment, one steady to grow in value, is no longer widespread. To understand what’s going […]

June 16th, 2014 | | 1 comment | Continued
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Why Are Real Estate Expectations Falling?

There’s a lot of worry in the real estate industry because it turns out that 2014 is not shaping up as the year of expansion that many had expected. But why should anyone be surprised? Sure the economy is rebounding, but it’s not rebounding equally across the country. “Of the approximately 350 metro markets nationwide, […]

June 9th, 2014 | | 0 comments | Continued
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A Visit To Normandy, D-Day Remembered

It was a bitterly cold day last October when we visited the Normandy beaches. First we stopped at the museum in Caen and then our guide took us to the beaches, passing through the hedgerow country, a place where someone or something could be five feet from you and never be seen. As a kid […]

June 6th, 2014 | | 0 comments | Continued
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With Mortgage Rates Down Why Are Home Sales Lagging?

It’s been nearly a year since the Federal Reserve announced that it would reduce – or taper – its purchases of mortgage-backed securities and other long-term debts from $85 billion a month to something less. Prior to the announcement the marketplace had moved in anticipation of this event, going from the lowest mortgage rates in […]

June 2nd, 2014 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Memorial Day: Long Ago In Basic Training

Long ago in the summer heat of Fort Bliss, TX, I joined the Army’s Third Training Brigade, Third Battalion, Company A. It was a basic training unit and for many of the 200 or so trainees it was the last stop before Vietnam. I had joined the National Guard as a college sophomore because at […]

May 26th, 2014 | | 0 comments | Continued