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Real Estate and Home

House Sales Improved in June, But is the Housing Crisis Over?

by Luke Landes

“Now is a great time to buy.” That has been the advertising mantra of the National Association of Realtors regardless of the state of the housing market. The NAR certainly has a purpose; its mission and vision is clearly displayed on the organization’s website: “The core purpose of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is to ... Continue reading this article…

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The Watergate Hotel is in Foreclosure

by Luke Landes

The real estate recession doesn’t discriminate. While foreclosures have soared to one out of 84 households over the course of the first six months of 2009 and the Obama administration is considering more aid to help families in this situation, the threat is also affecting famous properties. The owner of the famous Watergate Hotel in ... Continue reading this article…

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Extending the $8,000 First-Time Home Buyer Credit to $15,000

by Luke Landes

Update: The first-time home buyer tax credit has been extended and expanded. Click here for the latest details. The information below is now out-dated. The Senate is considering a number of changes to the $8,000 first-time home buyers credit. Spurred on by Sen. Johnny Isakson from Georgia, the adjustments being considered seek to expand the ... Continue reading this article…

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Your House Is Not a Good Investment

by Luke Landes

The latest data show again that you shouldn’t expect to make more money from buying and selling the house you live in than you would from investing in stocks. In fact, you could do better with government-issued inflation-protected bonds. This isn’t just a result of the recent decline in home prices, 19 percent over the past ... Continue reading this article…

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HUD Wants to Let First Time Home Buyers Use $8,000 Credit for Downpayment

by Luke Landes

In February, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009, otherwise known as this year’s stimulus bill. One small part of this bill allows first time home buyers (anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the past three years) to qualify for a $8,000 tax credit. For individuals or families hoping for some ... Continue reading this article…

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Do I Qualify for a Loan Modification?

by Smithee

(Or… What on Earth is an Affidavit of Financial Hardship?) Today the U.S. Treasury announced the details of their “Making Home Affordable” Loan Modifications. This link to the financialstability.gov Web page about the plan should help you answer whether you are eligible to receive help with your “underwater” mortgage. Here’s a good summary from a ... Continue reading this article…

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Should You Walk Away From a House and Mortgage?

by Luke Landes

In the real estate boom, many homebuyers extended themselves financially to buy a house that may have been beyond their means. With the exuberant market, people were encouraged to buy with low introductory interest rates and interest-only loans, the belief that their income would increase to meet their payments, predictions that real estate prices would ... Continue reading this article…

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Obama Sends $75 Billion to Homeowners in Foreclosure

by Luke Landes

If real estate is truly the root of the economic recession, then this new proposal from President Obama should help. The plan calls for $75 billion to help 9 million homeowners who can no longer afford their monthly mortgage payments and are at risk for foreclosure. Here is how this plan would help. If you ... Continue reading this article…

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Is Your Home an Asset or Liability?

by Luke Landes

When is your house a liability? Does the fact that you have a mortgage make your house a liability? Or do you have to owe more than the house is worth? What is a liability, anyway? Well, it depends. Looking at your house from a financial perspective, which you should do because if you’re like ... Continue reading this article…

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Housing Market Crash Predicted in 2003

by Luke Landes

In 2003, John Talbott predicted the housing market crash, in a way. It’s true that when the real estate market is exuberantly celebrating an uncharacteristic increase in home prices, you can predict a crash and just wait for it to come true. Here’s what Talbott, a former Vice President at Goldman Sachs and author of ... Continue reading this article…

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Senate Amendment to 2009 Stimulus Bill: $15,000 Tax Credit for Homebuyers

by Luke Landes

This text refers to the original $15,000 tax credit amendment for all homebuyers which has now been superseded. The tax credit is now $8,000 and is available for people who purchase a house between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2009. Here is how to claim the $8,000 home buyer tax credit on your 2008 ... Continue reading this article…

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Senate Amendment to 2009 Stimulus Bill: Moratorium on Foreclosures

by Luke Landes

As Barack Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus plan makes its way through Congress, the Senate is taking the opportunity to modify the bill with the intent of providing assistance to the lagging housing market. Rather than allow the market to continue correcting itself, the government would like to encourage consumers to jump into the market, allowing ... Continue reading this article…

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Senate Amendment to 2009 Stimulus Bill: First-Time Home Buyer Credit

by Luke Landes

This text refers to the original amendment to the stimulus bill, which has now been superseded in the final law. The first-time home buyer tax credit is now $8,000 and is available for people who purchase a house between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2009. Here is how to claim the $8,000 home buyer ... Continue reading this article…

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Senate Amendment to 2009 Stimulus Bill: 4% Fixed-Rate Mortgage

by Luke Landes

Updated March 20, 2009: The stimulus bill is now a law. Read our roundup of the many ways you can benefit. Without any Republican support, the 2009 stimulus package pushed by President Obama passed the House of Representatives. The bill is now making its way through the Senate, and it won’t come up for a ... Continue reading this article…

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Home Prices Keep Falling

by Luke Landes

Six or seven years ago, a couple I knew married each other and bought a house right away. I can’t claim to know their personal financial details, but I am sure the value of the house was well beyond three times their combined income. The husband explained to me that house values never go down, ... Continue reading this article…

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10 Tips for Buying a House in Any Market Condition

by Luke Landes

When you sell one house and buy another, the overall market conditions don’t matter as much. Unless the two houses involved are in areas with drastically different market conditions, you are exposed to the buy side and the sell side at roughly the same time. Whether it’s a “buyers’ market” or a “sellers’ market,” you ... Continue reading this article…

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Why I Will (Probably) Never Buy a Condominium

by Luke Landes

The “condominium” (or “condo” for short) is generally seen as the missing link between renting an apartment and owning land with a house. Commonly, at least in my experience, a condominium is an apartment building in which the units are individually owned but the common spaces are jointly owned by all individual owners. There is ... Continue reading this article…

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Home Improvement Cost vs. Value (2007)

by Smithee

As first-time homeowners, we watch more than our share of DIY Network / HGTV / buying and selling home shows. My wife and I work as a team: she concentrates on making home improvements, and I’m concerned with making sure things don’t fall apart. I also worry sometimes that any project we undertake might be ... Continue reading this article…

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Inspect Your Home Inspector

by Guest Author

This article was written for Consumerism Commentary by Antelope, an entertainment lighting designer working hard to achieve financial security. In the last year, my wife and I have sold a house in one city, and bought and sold another house in another city. After a bad experience with a home inspector when we were buying ... Continue reading this article…

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The Real Estate Roller Coaster

by Smithee

I really enjoy good “data visualization”, which is a fancy, but more succinct way of saying “a way to look at information as more than just numbers.” Last year, before most of us were aware of the “mortgage crisis,” some enterprising individual took a list of average housing prices in the United States since 1890, ... Continue reading this article…

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