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Archive for October, 2011

Planning to refinance? Don't forget about title insurance

October 31, 2011 Leave a comment

The government took action last week to help more homeowners with their mortgage payments. A revamped Home Affordable Refinance Program aims to remove some of the restrictions that have made it difficult for many to qualify assistance.

Historic lows on interest rates, changes coming to government programs such as HARP, it's no wonder so many Q&A and advice columns are dedicating space to homeowners' questions about refinancing, from knowing when to refinance to tips on how to avoid a mortgage refinance misstep.

One common question about refinancing relates to the settlement process, particularly title insurance.

Some homeowners are surprised when they hear they have to purchase a new title insurance policy when they refinance their mortgage. They bought a lender's and owner's policy when they purchased the home, and they want to know why they have to purchase a new title insurance policy.

To the lender, a refinance loan is no different than any other home loan. Your lender wants to insure that the new loan is protected by title insurance, just like the original lender required on your previous loan.� Lenders are protecting their investment against title related defects.

When you refinance, you are only buying a new title for the lender (a lender's policy), so your closing costs should still be less than when you purchased your home. And, while you're shopping around for the best refinance rates, be sure to shop around among title companies.

This will ensure you get the best pricing for your refinance.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Real estate round-up: October 31

October 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Check in every business day for the latest edition of Real Estate Round-up, where we post a list of our favorite real estate news stories from DC and beyond.

Headlines from the DC Metro Area:

One million new jobs means DC needs more housing
DC Urban Turf

A report, which can be found here, estimates that the region as a whole will need to build as many as 731,000 new units to house the workers � 211,000 units in suburban Maryland, 392,000 in Northern Virginia and 122,000 in the District.

A map of architecturally impressive DC homes
Curbed DC

Your guide to fifteen of the best looking houses we could find in a handy map so you can drive/walk/bike around to see them yourself.

Keep your feelings out of contracts
Washington Post

When a contract comes up, many homeowners have a hard time saying that they want to have a lawyer look at it first.

National real estate news stories:

Loan limit battle looms for house Republicans
Wall Street Journal

The issue puts House Republicans in a tough spot: Lawmakers campaigned last year to end federal bailouts, including the rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But many lawmakers, particularly Republicans in California and New York, face pressure from real estate agents and mortgage lenders in their districts, who have been hit hard by the real estate downturn.

Pending home sales index rises from one year ago
Inman News

Third-quarter data showed a 2.5 percent rise in GDP, compared with 1.3 percent in the second quarter. NAR expects U.S. GDP growth of 1.8 percent for the full year in 2011, with 2.3 percent GDP growth in 2012.

http://twlv.net/ewcw6M

Categories: Uncategorized

Real estate round-up: October 28

October 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Check in every business day for the latest edition of Real Estate Round-up, where we post a list of our favorite real estate news stories from DC and beyond.

Headlines from the DC Metro Area:

How to buy a short sale property
Washington Post

From the short sale home buyer's perspective, this third-party (lender) approval process is the major difference between a short sale and a regular sale. The short-sale home-buying process begins in the same manner as any other purchase: locating a home, determining a proposed offer price and preparing a written purchase offer.

Winterizing helps wallet, even sales appeal
Washington Times

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, most homeowners nationwide can expect a rise in costs associated with home heating this winter

New park in Southwest is in the works
The Dirt

A 4.2-acre park is slowly taking shape where a huge parking lot now exists on the southwest waterfront in Washington, D.C. The new redevelopment along the waterfront will use a denser development strategy for the buildings and wharfs, with some 50 percent open space,

National real estate news stories:

Freddie Mac CEO to step down
Wall Street Journal

The chief executive of Freddie Mac said he would step down next year, becoming the second CEO to resign from the mortgage-finance giant since it was taken over by the U.S. government in 2008.

Economic growth in U.S., though modest, speeds up
The New York Times

Economic growth in the United States picked up in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday, in an encouraging sign that the recovery, while still painfully slow, has not stalled.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Real estate round-up: October 27

October 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Headlines from the DC Metro Area:

10 things to know about buying, selling your home
Washington Post

After staying put during the economic recession, you might be tempted by stabilizing real estate prices and low mortgage interest rates to sell your house and buy your next place. What you may not realize is how long and complicated the process of buying and selling a home has become.

Queen Anne-style home in Rockville gets national attention
Curbed DC

This 1900s-era 4 bed/2bath has been in the same family for the past forty years. It started out on the market at $500,000 (too high!, says Goldilocks), but has come down to $399,999 (just right!).

Home prices up in half of major U.S. cities
Washington Times

The biggest price increases were in Washington, Chicago and Detroit. The greatest declines were in Atlanta and Los Angeles. The August data provides a “modest glimmer of hope” that some areas may have bottomed out and could be turning around.

National real estate news stories:

Home prices tread water
Wall Street Journal

Here are four questions that borrowers should consider carefully before proceeding with a refinancing, according to experts.

Be neighbors with Vice President Joe Biden for $6.9M
Inman News

his Hacienda-style house might look like something out of the Spanish countryside, but it actually sits next to the vice president's mansion on the grounds of the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

http://twlv.net/A9tUqs

Categories: Uncategorized

Real estate round-up: October 26

October 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Check in every business day for the latest edition of Real Estate Round-up, where we post a list of our favorite real estate news stories from DC and beyond.

Headlines from the DC Metro Area:

Home Affordable Refinance Program: What you need to know
Washington Post

The HARP program, which was rolled out in 2009, is designed to help. Those who are “underwater” on their homes and owe more than the homes are worth.

Policy fixes may boost refinancing
Washington Times

If the Federal Housing Finance Agency is moderately successful in making these changes, the current refinance wave could turn into a tsunami.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn's DC home hits the market
DC Urban Turf

The three-bedroom home at 2613 Dumbarton Street NW in Georgetown was listed on Monday for the tidy sum of $5.2 million. Washingtonian reported back in early September that the home was poised to hit the market soon.�

National real estate news stories:

Knowing when to refinance
The New York Times

Here are four questions that borrowers should consider carefully before proceeding with a refinancing, according to experts.

Restringing the housing HARP
Wall Street Journal

The latest iteration came Monday, when the Federal Housing Finance Agency unveiled changes to a program meant to make it easier for underwater homeowners who are current on payments to refinance into a lower-rate mortgage.

Is gentrification always bad for revitalizing neighborhoods?
The Atlantic

The truth is that what some badly disinvested cities, districts, and neighborhoods desperately need is some form and degree of 'gentrification.' The challenge is to have enough without having too much.

http://twlv.net/U5qTrU

Categories: Uncategorized

Real estate round-up: October 25

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Check in every business day for the latest edition of Real Estate Round-up, where we post a list of our favorite real estate news stories from DC and beyond.

Headlines from the DC Metro Area:

One real estate company offers a “bike-mounted tour”
Washington City Paper

Bikeability is a huge selling point these days, so it's not surprising to see realtors getting on board (following the architects, who are starting to include Bikeshare in their renderings).

FHA rules for condos make buying, selling difficult
Washington Post

FHA-insured mortgages have become a mainstay of condominium unit financing in the past several years, and now account for 40 percent of all purchase loans for condos in some metropolitan markets.

How value capture financing will revitalize White Flint
DC Streets Blog

Not only are the White Flint developers looking to include more mixed-use development in the community, they want to build new local streets to fill in a viable street grid and redesign the eight-lane Rockville Pike into a “21st century boulevard” with wide sidewalks, bike lanes, six rows of trees, and dedicated transit lanes.

How to find the best refi rate? Shop around
Washington Post

Consider speaking with someone in each of these categories: a big national bank; a credit union; a qualified and highly recommended mortgage broker (check with your local real estate agents; they usually have a list); an online lender; and a small regional lender.

National real estate news stories:

How to derail a mortgage refinance
Bankrate.com

A mortgage refinance is trickier than it was a few years ago. Here are five ways to mess up.

12 questions on Obama's refi plan
Wall Street Journal

The Obama administration is revamping a program that's designed to let more homeowners refinance their mortgages even if they don't have any equity.

http://twlv.net/5jmynA

Categories: Uncategorized

Real estate round-up: October 19

October 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Check in every business day for the latest edition of Real Estate Round-up, where we post a list of our favorite real estate news stories from DC and beyond.

Headlines from the DC Metro Area:

Arlington tries to preserve 'essential' historic properties
Washington Examiner

Unlike most communities, which label only specific buildings or properties historic, Arlington ranks all buildings over 50 years old as historically significant.

Loan options for home improvement projects
DC Urban Turf

Today, with the low cost of building materials and contractor services, coupled with historically low interest rates, it is possible to finance $50,000 in home improvements for less than $350 a month through 203K or conventional home loans.

What $725,000 buys you in DC
DC Urban Turf

In What X Buys You this week, UrbanTurf takes a look at properties on the market in the $715,000 to $725,000 range to give readers an idea of what type of homes are available in this price point in the DC area.

National real estate news stories:

Next generation “less confident about home ownership”
Wall Street Journal

A new paper by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston economists used consumer sentiment data collected in the Michigan Survey of Consumers over the summer to try to find out how the housing market's terrible state of affairs was affecting the willingness to buy a new home.

Male agents list more homes, female agents list pricier ones
Inman News

In a blog post about the findings, Trulia said that “the average list price isn't necessarily a reflection on how aggressive the agent is on pricing. In some cases, it could mean that women take on inherently more expensive homes/neighborhoods than men, and vice versa.”

http://twlv.net/NBGtpC

Categories: Uncategorized