Real Estate

Cooped Up, Unhappy: Young Professionals Target New Homes

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 6, 2020 - 1:00am

Homebuilders are reporting an uptick in attention from millennial first-time buyers.

Categories: Real Estate

Steps to Buying a Foreclosed Home

Daily Real Estate News - May 5, 2020 - 4:31pm

Let me guess: You are interested in buying a foreclosure property? When you want to buy a home, but the mortgage payments are difficult to afford, buying a foreclosure can look attractive. The unfortunate previous homeowner will have struggled with the costs of the mortgage, ending up with the home foreclosing to the lender.

The bank or other financial lender wants to sell these homes and get as much of their money back as they can. They are looking to get their money back quickly, and this can mean selling for less than the market value. This is where you can pick up a bargain that would otherwise cost more than you could afford.

Buying a foreclosed home is a little different from a standard sale, and there are some things you need to know. While you might be concerned about purchasing a foreclosure, if you are prepared to do more research and take slightly more risk, there could be significant savings to be made.

Let’s review the foreclosure procedures and the steps you should follow to successfully close on a home.

Stages of Foreclosure

A foreclosure goes through different stages, and this will change what you have to do to buy the home.

Short Sale
The pre-foreclosure is when the property is still owned by the person who is having difficulty with the mortgage payments. They are keen to sell to avoid the full foreclosure of their home. This is also known as a short sale, and the seller will often need the permission of the lender to sell the home for less than the loan amount. This can be a difficult situation, with two parties having a say in the sale.

A short sale will need to make financial sense to the lender for them to approve it. Don’t think you can make an offer on a short sale that is not within a reasonable amount from the fair market value. The mortgage holder will send an appraiser out to evaluate the property. The lender will not agree to sell the home significantly under what the appraiser has reported.

Can you get a discount? Sure, in most cases, you can—just don’t expect it to be monumental.

Auction Sale
The next stage in a foreclosure process is the property getting auctioned. Typically, the seller will have missed quite a few mortgage payments. They will also be notified that if they don’t catch up on the mortgage payments due, the lender will initiate foreclosure proceedings. If the owner does not catch up, the lender will eventually file for foreclosure.

Once the home has gone into foreclosure, it will be offered for sale in an auction. This is the most common way to buy a foreclosed home and can mean that the transaction happens quickly. A buyer will typically need cash to buy, and there are other risks involved.

There may not be the chance to properly research an auction property. This could mean that there are repairs needed or a lien on the title, which could result in unforeseen expenses. You, unfortunately, are buying the home “as is” and “where-is.” Many times, you will not be able to set foot inside the property before the auction takes place. Buying a home at auction is not for the faint of heart.

There is a significant risk you are buying a money pit or a home that could have any number of problems, including liens or title issues. You could spend tens of thousands of dollars trying to clear up these problems. The keyword? RISKY!

If the home doesn’t sell at auction, the property moves to the real estate-owned or REO stage. This means that the lender owns the house and will likely sell it through a real estate agency. Bank-owned homes are far less risky to an end buyer because by the time the bank owns the property and sells it again, all the liens and issues will be squared away.

The bank will be selling the home to the buyer with a clean title. Bank-owned homes are usually priced near market value, but if they don’t sell reasonably quickly, the bank will often discount them to get it off the books. Banks are not interested in being property owners.

Setting Your Budget

Understanding what you can afford is an integral part of buying a home, and this is particularly true with a foreclosed home. You may be able to find a home that is far cheaper than it would otherwise be, but you still need to set your budget to avoid problems.

Write down your monthly income and costs, so that you can better understand what mortgage payments you can cope with. Failure to do this could lead to your new home becoming a foreclosure once again. It is also advisable when you’re about to purchase any home to make sure your financial house is in order. Getting a copy of your credit report and checking it for errors will be prudent as they can severely impact the loan terms you’ll get.

Loan Pre-Approval

When you know your budget, you should get pre-approved by a lender. They will check your credit and tell you how much they are willing to offer you. This enables you to narrow down your search to foreclosures within the mortgage pre-approval amount.

With a pre-approval letter in hand, you will be a more attractive buyer. The bank selling the home will know that the sale should close faster, and this could be the difference if there are multiple interested buyers.

Your credit score is essential during the pre-approval process. Any changes to your score or financial situation after the pre-approval could result in you not getting final approval for the loan amount expected. You should avoid taking out any new credit in that period, to prevent the chance of your mortgage not being approved.

The Benefits of Experience

One of the best tips for buying a foreclosure is to find a real estate agent who has experience with distressed properties. If you aren’t entirely familiar with either purchasing a foreclosure property or the area you are looking to buy, the services of an experienced buyer’s real estate agent will be essential to guide you in the right direction.
They will have an understanding of the prices in the area and will know if the foreclosure is really the bargain you are looking for. Finding the right agent should also give you access to properties you might have otherwise missed.

The experience of the real estate agent should help you to understand the issues involved in the purchase and alert you to any legal concerns which you could run into.

Presenting an Offer

How you make an offer on the property will depend on the foreclosure stage it is at. Your real estate agent will contact the owner of the home or will be with you during the auction. During an auction, you need to stick to your budget and not get in a bidding war with another party.

When buying a short sale or bank-owned property, the offer should be contingent on having a home inspection. If there are significant problems, however, don’t expect the lender to make the repairs. Home inspections will generally be for informational purposes only. They won’t be interested in negotiations or fixing problems with the home, so walk away if the issues are too much for you.

Make sure you stay in line with all of the contract dates, so you don’t forfeit your earnest money.

Final Thoughts on Buying a Foreclosure

Do research where you can and avoid making a quick decision to reduce the risk. If you are prepared for the extra issues of a foreclosure property, you could find yourself a good deal. There should be far more due diligence on your part to make sure you’re not walking into a hornet’s nest. Hiring an attorney will be highly advisable to make sure your interests are protected.

Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized real estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell Metrowest Massachusetts real estate for the past 33 years. He has been one of the top RE/MAX REALTORS® in New England for the past decade. In 2018, he was the No. 1 RE/MAX real estate agent in Massachusetts. He works for RE/MAX Executive Realty in Hopkinton Mass.

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Categories: Real Estate

Evolving Communities in the Age of COVID-19

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 5, 2020 - 1:00am

Repurposed roads, wider sidewalks, and more parks are among the possibilities envisioned for America's neighborhoods.

From the 2020 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings, Virtual, April 27-May 15

Categories: Real Estate

More Banks Halt HELOCs

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 5, 2020 - 1:00am

Financial institutions have been tightening up on lending, and home equity lines of credit are the latest casualty.

Categories: Real Estate

Where Housing Inventories Are Falling Fastest

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 5, 2020 - 1:00am

Up against the pandemic, new listings decreased by nearly 45% between March and April,® reports.

Categories: Real Estate

The End of Open Office Space?

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 5, 2020 - 1:00am

“While many organizations prepared for employee safety in other ways, the workplace was not designed to mitigate the spread of disease,” according to one furniture maker.

Categories: Real Estate

iBuying Giant Resumes Instant Offers

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 5, 2020 - 1:00am

After hitting the pause button during the start of the pandemic, iBuyers are gradually reemerging. But the model may be tested by the slowdown in the market.

Categories: Real Estate

Instaworthy Interior Design Styles By State

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 5, 2020 - 1:00am

Instagram has become a prime spot to share interior design pictures. Here's a breakdown of which styles are trending and where.

Categories: Real Estate

Ask the Expert: Useful Ways to Spend Your Time at Home

Daily Real Estate News - May 4, 2020 - 5:01pm

Today’s Ask the Expert column features Dan Steward, president and CEO of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®.

Dan Steward
Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®

Q: What are your best tips for homeowners when it comes to useful ways to spend their time while at home?

A: As a homeowner, there’s no shortage of things that need to get done around the house—no matter the season. If you’re looking to get your property in tip-top shape, there’s no better time to take a close look around your home (inside and out) and put together a list of things that need some attention.

– Deterioration and rot can remove caulk and grout around a bathtub, which can cause leaks and lead to extensive damage to the surrounding walls. You can determine if there’s insufficient grout by checking between tiled enclosures for voids. Caulk integrity can be determined by gently pressing and checking for any sponginess, a sign of weakened integrity.

– Seals around kitchen and bathroom sink fixtures can become loose, leading to water damage in cabinets below. Examine seals and test them to see if they feel loose. If so, repair or replace them immediately.

– Add style to kitchens and bathrooms by installing new faucets. A stylish new kitchen faucet doesn’t have to cost a lot and can instantly update the look of the room. Updated faucets and towel bars in the bathroom will have a similar effect. While you’re at it, take a look at the door knobs and handle sets of interior doors. If the hardware is dated, unmatched or in poor condition, it may be time to replace it.

– Plants too close to a home’s siding can cause moisture damage and premature wear. Make sure to keep vegetation in control by keeping plants neat and trim.

– Downspouts often release against walls, which can cause the foundation to deteriorate, causing water to enter the basement. Redirect these downspouts away from the structure.

– Ensure that your property is safe by checking patios and walkways for cracks and loose bricks or pavers. These are a tripping hazard that should be addressed promptly.

– Inspect the irrigation system for broken sprinkler heads and emitters. Also, be sure to check for overspray, and adjust the system as necessary to prevent water waste.

– Update your home’s curb appeal by tackling basic maintenance and repairs. Clear clutter from the yard, clean up dead branches and trees, trim overgrown shrubs and keep the lawn mowed so that your property always has its best foot forward.

For more information, please visit

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Categories: Real Estate

Stay-at-Home Orders Present New DIY Opportunities

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 1, 2020 - 1:00am

More homeowners are spending time on home improvement projects, which may add value and appeal to their properties.

Categories: Real Estate

Poll: Pandemic Making Suburbs More Appealing

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 1, 2020 - 1:00am

Urban residents express interest in moving to less densely populated areas to keep their families safe, according to new data.

Categories: Real Estate

Mortgage Rates Dip to New Record Low

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 1, 2020 - 1:00am

However, “it’s important to remember not all people are able to take advantage of them given the current pandemic,” Freddie Mac says.

Categories: Real Estate

Will the Handshake Become a Thing of the Past?

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 1, 2020 - 1:00am

If shaking hands is no longer customary in business, what kind of gesture will replace it?

Categories: Real Estate

Colorful Bowl Recipe Perfect for Mother’s Day

Daily Real Estate News - April 30, 2020 - 4:49pm

(TNS)—Even in these challenging times, we want to honor mom on her day. If you’re thinking about making something easy and light, this is perfect. It’s a colorful meal in a bowl with Asian flavors and will brighten up your dinner with very little effort. The only cooking needed is to microwave some rice. Use this recipe as a guideline if you don’t have all of the ingredients on hand, just substitute whatever vegetables or cooked meat, even deli meat you have using the proportions given in the recipe. This recipe is so easy, use it to cheer up your family on any day.

The dressing recipe is easy and quick, but you can use a bought ginger or Asian-flavored dressing, too.

Helpful Hints:
– Napa cabbage is also called Chinese cabbage. Bok choy can be used instead.
– Use a bowl about 8 inches in diameter. If a large bowl isn’t available, arrange the ingredients on a dinner plate.
– The recipe can be made ahead and refrigerated. Bring it to room temperature and add the dressing before serving.
– Use the leftover chicken from the rotisserie chicken for another meal or chicken salad.

– Make dressing and set aside.
– Prepare all ingredients.
– Assemble them into the bowls.

Shopping List:
To buy: 1 bottle reduced-sodium soy sauce, 1 bottle sesame oil, 1 bottle honey, 1 piece fresh ginger or 1 bottle ground ginger, 1 cucumber, 1 small head Napa cabbage, 1 red bell pepper, 1 package frozen or fresh edamame, 1 small rotisserie chicken (1/2 pound breast meat needed), 1 package microwaveable brown rice, 1 package fresh snow peas, 1 bottle unsalted peanuts, 1 bunch scallions.

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

1/2 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced cucumber with skin
1 cup red bell pepper strips, cut lengthwise into strips
1 cup frozen or fresh shelled edamame
1/2 pound rotisserie chicken breast or dark meat, skin and bones removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup brown microwaveable rice
1 cup snow peas
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts
1/3 cup sliced scallions

Mix reduced-sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and ginger together in a small bowl and set aside. Microwave rice according to package instructions, measure 1 cup. Save remaining rice for another meal. Set aside. Divide the cabbage between 2 large bowls. Divide the remaining ingredients including the rice in half to place in the two bowls. Add the cucumber slices to one side of the bowl. Place the red bell pepper strips and cucumbers, moving in a circle around the bowl. Add the edamame, rice and snow peas completing the circle. Add the chicken cubes to the center. Drizzle the dressing over the bowl ingredients. Sprinkle the peanuts and scallions on top.
Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 599 calories (36 percent from fat), 24.1 g fat (3.6 g saturated, 9 g monounsaturated), 105 mg cholesterol, 49.1 g protein, 49.1 g carbohydrates, 9.5 g fiber, 216 mg sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is an author of over 30 cookbooks. Her newest is “The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook.” Find her on Facebook (@FoodNewsandViews) and Twitter (@LGassenheimer), and listen to her podcasts at

©2020 Tribune Content Agency, LLC
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Categories: Real Estate

Talk Sustainability to Buyers, They Want to Hear It

NAR Daily News Magazine - April 30, 2020 - 1:00am

A new NAR survey shows that consumers care about how green home features can save them money while helping the environment.

Categories: Real Estate

Sellers Netted $67K in Price Gains During First Quarter

NAR Daily News Magazine - April 30, 2020 - 1:00am

Homeowners saw an average 33.7% return on investment over the original purchase cost, according to a new report.

Categories: Real Estate

Fed Says It's in No Hurry to Raise Rates

NAR Daily News Magazine - April 30, 2020 - 1:00am

The Federal Reserve voted Wednesday to keep its key benchmark rate near zero, which may ensure historically low interest rates stick around.

Categories: Real Estate

Do Smaller Homes Spark More Arguments?

NAR Daily News Magazine - April 30, 2020 - 1:00am

A new study suggests tighter living quarters fuel more household tensions. Consumers complained about chores not being done, cleaning habits, and paying the bills.

Categories: Real Estate

Many REALTORS® Report No Closing Delays

NAR Daily News Magazine - April 30, 2020 - 1:00am

Despite the pandemic, more than a third of real estate professionals say their sales are still closing on time.

Categories: Real Estate

A Sign Buyer Confidence Is Shifting: Mortgage Applications Rise

NAR Daily News Magazine - April 30, 2020 - 1:00am

Reports indicate that home buyers are gradually returning to the market.

Categories: Real Estate
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