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Real Estate Articles

Appraisals no longer on certain home sales

Starting in October 2019, some home sales under $400,000 no longer require an appraisal. Previously, appraisals were not required on home sales of $250,000 and below. But federal regulators just approved a rule that will raise the threshold for the first time in 25 years. Loans that are partially insured by, or eligible for sale to, a government agency such as the FHA, VA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will still require an appraisal, per each

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FHA reduces cash-out refinancing limits

The Trump administration is limiting the amount of cash borrowers can withdraw from their homes under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) financing program. As of September, the FHA now limits cash-out refinancing to 80 percent of the home value. Previously, borrowers could take out up to 85 percent of their property’s equity. The new FHA rule brings the limits in line with standards already in place at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Veterans Administration (VA) loans

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Will home equity affect financial aid for your college student?

With home values rising and college application time upon us, you may want to look at how home equity could impact financial aid decisions at your son or daughter’s school of choice. Nearly every school requires families to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which asks for basic income and asset information. However, more than 200 institutions nationwide also require the College Scholarship Service (CSS) profile to determine aid. The CSS questionnaire includes

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Home-flipping seminars under scrutiny

Have you heard those radio ads for house-flipping seminars endorsed by HGTV stars? Did the sales pitch sound too good to be true? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) thinks so. The FTC filed a complaint against Zurixx, a company that hosts real estate seminars endorsed by “Flip or Flop” stars such as Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead and “Love It or List It” host Hilary Farr, and others. According to the FTC complaint, Zurixx makes

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Challenging a quitclaim deed

The next-door neighbors convinced your aunt to sign over the deed to her house. Your stepfather’s long-lost son came to visit and walked away with a quitclaim deed to the family cottage. What do you do when you suspect someone did something “fishy” to get his or her name on a deed? A quitclaim deed is a legal tool that allows one person to release the interest they have in a piece of property. In most

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How home selling has shifted in the past decade

If you haven’t sold a home in the last 10 years, you might be surprised by how much trends and expectations have changed over the years. Here are some leading factors changing the home sale market today: Real estate sites: More than 90 percent of homebuyers use the internet as one of the primary ways to find a home, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). With the popularity of online tools like Zillow and

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Landlord Eviction Options During Covid-19

Landlords and Coronavirus Long before any Governor issued emergency orders for their state, coronavirus was already altering the fabric of our lives and commerce in unexpected ways. In the last month, millions of workers across the country, from hotel and restaurant workers to office assistants and managers, have been laid off, furloughed, or prohibited from working by legal measures. Even the most white-collar of professions are not immune; doctors not working directly with COVID-19 patients are

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Should you choose a reverse mortgage? Pluses and minuses

For seniors, deciding whether to enter into a reverse mortgage can be complicated. Here are some pros and cons to consider: The pros A reverse mortgage allows you to maintain the title to your home while receiving income from your equity. The loan doesn’t typically affect Medicare or Social Security benefits. Reverse mortgage income is viewed as loan proceeds, and therefore isn’t likely to be taxed. Be sure to consult an advisor to confirm the tax

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Financing a home for your retired parents

Lenders are making it easier for people who want to finance homes with rental units for their retirement-age parents. In the past, banks treated such arrangements as partial investment properties and required higher down payments and loan rates than those required for typical single-family homes. But that’s not the case anymore. According to the Pew Center, 20 percent of Americans, or 64 million people, live in multigenerational homes, with at least two adult generations in the

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Tips for charging rent to your adult child

In some ways, it might seem great to have your adult child move home and spend more time with you. Or maybe you never expected it to happen, and suddenly the child you thought was moving on is at your doorstep. No matter how you feel about it, here are some tips on charging your adult child rent: Base rent on a percentage of your child’s take-home income. A good range to consider is between 10

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