Real Estate – Current Industry News
sources:National Association of Realtors, Inman, Forbes, Realtor.com, Realtytimes.com

Feed URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/inmannews not valid and removed from fetch.

    Forbes - Real Estate Forbes - Real Estate

    Archives - Realty Times - Realty Times Realty Times is the real estate industry's most trusted source of local market conditions, buyer's advice, seller's advice, Realtor advice, and real estate news.

    • How The Equifax Hack Affects Homebuyers And How You Can Protect Yourself
      by rtstaff@realtytimes.com (Jaymi Naciri) on September 20, 2017 at 8:40 pm

      Half of the country is freaking out. That's about how many people are potentially affected by the unprecedented Equifax hack. If you're the average person who's afraid of having your data stolen - and by data, we mean your name, Social Security number, birth date, addresses, credit card numbers, and driver's license number that were reportedly involved in this breach - you may have already taken some steps to limit the damage. But what if you're in the process of buying a home or are getting ready to do so? How does this hack affect you, and what can you do to make sure you are protected? Potential fallout for homebuyers "Take this scenario: Say your Equifax file was looted but you've done little or nothing to detect fraudulent activity on one or more of your credit accounts. You sign a contract to buy a house, and you apply for a mortgage. The lender pulls your credit and confronts you with shocking news: Your FICO credit score is too low for you to qualify for the loan because you've been running up too much debt on one or more accounts. Your ‘utilization ratio' on your available credit is too high, and that has depressed your score," said the Washington Post. "Or there's a newly established account in your files that has put you deep in debt, even though you had nothing to do with it. It turns out that financial thieves have been racking up thousands of dollars in debts at your expense, and now - smack in the middle of a major lifetime investment - you're stuck with having to get the file corrected, which takes time and can be a pain. In the meantime, what happens to your purchase contract? Will the sellers bear with you, essentially putting off the transaction indefinitely and possibly blowing up their own plans to move into another house on a specific date? It could all get really messy." Those who are already in escrow could also be derailed when the lender runs your credit before the loan closes and discovers fraudulent new accounts or charges that raise the debt-to-income ratio beyond what is allowed. "At the very least, whatever rate locks you had could be blown as you scramble to get your files corrected," they said. "Or your entire loan transaction could be jeopardized if the process takes too long." Steps to take now Have you still not checked to see if you were potentially impacted by the hack that affected as many as 143 million people? Not having dealt directly with Equifax doesn't guarantee your safety. "You may have never used Equifax yourself, or even heard of it," said CNN. "Either way, the credit reporting agency could still have a lot of your personal information. To find out if your data was compromised by the hack, go here." Keep in mind that you'll have to enter your last name and the last six numbers of your Social Security number to check. Regardless of whether or not they believe you were impacted, you'll be prompted to enroll in their TrustID Premier credit monitoring service, which will be free for a year. Despite earlier concerns, "Equifax has confirmed that signing up for TrustID Premier will not prevent you from joining a class-action suit over this issue," said PCWorld. Armed with this information, you can go about taking further steps to protect your credit and prevent thieves from stealing your identity. Pull your credit reports for free once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com. Look them over carefully to make sure there are not any fraudulent accounts and/or charges. If you see anything, get on the phone with the creditor right away and start the dispute process. If you're in the process of applying for a home loan or are under contract, you'll also want to call your lender immediately to alert them to what you found. To freeze or not to freeze There has been quite a bit of discussion about credit freezes since news of the breach broke, with some consumers concerned that "turning off" their credit could potentially damage their score or negatively impact them in some other way, especially during the homebuying process. The fact is that a credit freeze is "the most extreme method, but it's also the most effective" at preventing your information from being stolen and used to open new accounts, credit expert Barry Paperno, who blogs at Speaking of Credit, told NerdWallet. And, it can be turned on and off as needed for, say, a mortgage application or credit re-check before a closing. "There are no downsides to this: You can still use your credit cards with the freezes on," said Realtor.com. "But no one will be able to check credit scores and personal information without your permission—so no bad apples can open up fraudulent new cards or get loans under your name. And you can undo the freezes at any time - typically for a small fee." That fee varies depending on the state, and Equifax has said it will offer free freezes for 30 days, but the need for freezing will extend long after that is over. "Because a freeze can prevent fraud, it's better than a credit monitoring service, which only alerts you that fraud might have happened," said NerdWallet. "It's the difference between using a deadbolt to keep thieves out rather than a security camera to catch them after the fact." You can easily request a freeze online for the three credit unions: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Fraud alerts "If you don't want to lock out all creditors - perhaps you're in the middle of mortgage shopping or refinancing - you can place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit," they added. "This tells potential creditors to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name." A fraud alert is a good idea whether or not you freeze your credit. In this day and age, when hacks are more frequent and more damaging to more people, ongoing monitoring just makes sense. "The biggest fears of identity theft "center around identity theft on an epic scale. It isn't tough to conjure up worst-case scenarios," said Realtor.com. "Think about it: Bad guys with all of someone's information could, at least theoretically, try to buy a home under that person's name. It's more likely, though, they would use those stolen credit card numbers - or use SSNs to open up new credit cards - and rack up lots of debt in that unsuspecting victim's name. And that damage could make it much harder for someone to qualify for a mortgage or refinance an existing mortgage." Consumers have largely been turning to ID theft protection company LifeLock, who the Los Angeles Times said could be "one of the big winners from the big data breach suffered by Equifax." Not surprisingly, the firm has upped its advertising outreach in the wake of the breach. The result: "An executive of Symantec, LifeLock's parent company, told Bloomberg that since the Equifax breach was reported, LifeLock's Web traffic has increased sixfold and enrollments per hour are running 10 times ahead of the pre-Equifax era." But, there's a rub: "Here's what LifeLock isn't advertising so widely: When you buy its protection, you're signing up for credit reporting and monitoring services provided by, yes, Equifax. LifeLock signed a four-year contract with Equifax in December 2015," and the relationship is still active. If any (or all!) of that makes you queasy, there are alternatives to LifeLock you may want to consider. […]

    • How to Choose Hardwood Flooring That Will Get Your House Noticed
      by rtstaff@realtytimes.com (Jacqueline Falla) on September 20, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      As a house flipper, ensuring my renovated properties look great is very important to me. I love walking into homes with hardwood floors. From bamboo to cork to parquet, oak, pine, and mahogany, wood floors give an immediate feeling of quality and luxury. There are seemingly endless varieties, styles and textures of hardwood flooring to complement your home and the region where you live. If you're thinking of selling your home in the next few years or simply want to love where your feet fall, hardwood flooring can add value and give your home the design boost it needs. Solid Wood vs. Engineered Hardwoods With so many options available nowadays, making the right decision can be difficult. Consider these key differences when evaluating flooring for your home. Solid Wood Flooring is milled from trees, and each plank is composed of natural wood. Within the realm of solid wood, there are varying degrees of hardness. The Janka Hardness Scale rates the hardness of wood and can help you choose the right flooring for your home. Engineered Wood is made up of pieces of wood and composite materials that are layered to create each plank. There are pros and cons to each option. Solid wood flooring can swell and retract based on humidity and climate, requiring proper installation to limit the chances of these occurrences. In most instances, hardwood flooring means paying a premium in the cost. On the other hand, engineered wood flooring doesn't react like solid wood to humidity, but it can't be refinished multiple times if it gets deep scratches. Visual interest, floor to ceiling.Photo credit: Jacqueline Falla Installation and Other Considerations Engineered floors come prefinished, which saves a step or two in the process of completing your flooring project. They can be installed quickly, in as little as one day, and are ready for immediate move-in. Hardwood requires several additional steps in the process: installation and cleaning, and staining (often several times) prior to adding a final coat of varnish. Weather conditions matter as well. High humidity requires a longer drying time between coats, and stepping on floors that have not cured properly is out of the question. Those with sensitivity to strong odors will want to wait until the smell disappears before returning home. Color and Pattern Choices Style can be imparted not only through your choice of a particular wood but also through the color of stain you apply. Light floors appear breezy and beachy, while dark floors feel sophisticated and urban. The direction you lay the flooring - vertical, horizontal or in a pattern - also influences how formal or informal the space appears. Photo credit: Jacqueline FallaReady for the beach. Durable, Practical and Stylish Installing hardwood flooring is one of those rare instances in life where the practical choice doesn't leave you feeling like you've made a series of compromises to arrive at a responsible decision. Hardwood is beauty and brains wrapped in one tough package. The main choice to be made, really, is whether to install natural or engineered hardwoods. Because each type has different properties, where you plan to put the flooring could supply you with the quickest answer to the type of hardwood you should select. Due to the expansion and retraction qualities of solid hardwood, it's best to keep it out of spaces that have a lot of moisture, like the bathroom or kitchen, or in spaces where the flooring would be laid directly on top of a concrete slab. For this reason, basements and bathrooms are great places to use engineered wood flooring instead. Rental Property Considerations If your home is an investment property for rent, you may want to opt for solid hardwood over engineered. Solid hardwood floors can be refinished up to 10 times before they need to be replaced. This will allow you to refinish the floors between tenants. Conversely, engineered hardwood, while very durable, has a useful life that does not extend beyond one or two sandings. Hardwood is a smart choice for pet owners. Pet-Friendly Flooring Hardwood flooring is a practical choice for pet owners as it's relatively easy to clean and doesn't trap dust and other allergens the way carpeted floors do. Although engineered wood can be more scratch resistant, its thin layer of wood can't be refinished multiple times like hardwood can. So if you have active dogs, you may want to opt for solid hardwood floors that can be refinished multiple times. Noise Reduction If you prefer that the pitter patter of little feet - or big feet, for that matter - be muffled, cork flooring has sound-absorbing properties to keep your home quiet. Its leathery look and comfort underfoot make it an attractive option. Cork is also an eco-friendly product because it's derived from the bark of the cork tree and doesn't require constant replanting. Cork floors help stifle sound transfer. Whether you're a DIYer or need a little help, there is a flooring selection for every style and budget that will bring you value and pride of ownership. As an avid DIYer, Jaqueline Falla  is constantly flipping houses. She writes for The Home Depot about the projects that provide the biggest return on investment. She loves adding hardwood floors - or refinishing existing ones - for a quick visual lift to get a house ready for sale.Visit The Home Depot to see a selection of hardwood flooring options to update your home. This article is editorial content that has been contributed to our site at our request, and is published for the benefit of our readers. We have not been compensated for its placement. […]

    • Existing-Home Sales Subside 1.7 Percent in August
      on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

      WASHINGTON (September 20, 2017) — Existing-home sales stumbled in August for the fourth time in five months as strained supply levels continue to subdue overall activity, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Sales gains in the Northeast and Midwest were outpaced by declines in the South and West. Total existing-home sales1, https://www.nar.realtor/topics/existing-home-sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, retreated 1... Read Mor […]

    • Student Debt Delaying Millennial Homeownership by 7 Years
      on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

      WASHINGTON (September 18, 2017) – Despite being in the prime years to buy their first home, an overwhelming majority of millennials with student debt currently do not own a home and believe this debt is to blame for what they typically expect to be a seven-year delay from buying. This is according to a new joint study on millennial student loan debt released today by the National Association of Realtors® and nonprofit American Student Assistance®. The survey additionally revealed that student debt is holding back millennials from financial decisions and personal... Read Mor […]

    • Pam Patenaude Right Choice for HUD Deputy Secretary, Say Realtors®
      on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

      WASHINGTON (September 14, 2017) – The U.S. Senate today approved the nomination of Pam Patenaude as deputy secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Following is a statement from NAR President William E. Brown on the vote: “Pam Patenaude is the right choice for deputy secretary, and Realtors® are pleased to see her nomination win approval from the Senate. “She has a big task ahead. Home prices continue to rise in an environment of ever-tightening mortgage credit, which means buyers are struggling to keep pace. That... Read Mor […]

    • Homeownership a Common Interest, Deserves Protection in Tax Reform Debate
      on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

      Iona Harrison (pictured center), chair of NAR’s Federal Taxation Committee, testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on tax reform.  WASHINGTON (September 14, 2017) – Tax reform done right could yield savings and simplification that benefits average Americans, but history shows that misguided reforms can pose significant threats to the economy. That’s the message the National Association of REALTORS® brought to Congress today as Iona Harrison, chair of NAR’s Federal Taxation Committee,... Read Mor […]

    Daily News Real Estate Tips, Trends, Data & More

    Twitter Real Estate Feeds

    How Do I Find Out In Which "Flood Hazard Area" Or "Flood Zone" My Home Is Located? @fema provides homeowners answers https://t.co/SlTYEc1fJi

    Home or car damaged in Irma? Here’s what your insurance will cover: https://t.co/KHp9nrkQZf via @MiamiHerald

    The sun always rises again.☀️ #HurricaneIrma #EWM

    Load More...

    Follow industry best practices and use the latest technology to make sure email delivers on its promise https://t.co/gekVt1bLFx

    A Texas brokerage claims to be the first in the Lone Star state to have closed on a home purchased with bitcoin https://t.co/6Bv2ymQ7jq

    Augmented reality is coming to real estate https://t.co/5ewInVaGRE

    Load More...

    #REALTOR Sal Dimiceli eases the suffering of poverty. Vote for Sal to win grant money https://t.co/JQIMfYEpg4 #GoodNeighborAwards

    4 Things You Really Wish Your Sellers Knew https://t.co/lhoeO14GdV

    .@NAHBhome’s Chairman discusses the task ahead for home builders in the wake of Hurricanes Irma & Harvey: https://t.co/wwK5pq3aE6

    Load More...