Monday, July 8, 2013
A recent survey by Harris Interactive and State Farm Insurance found that 60% of Americans have a pet peeve with someone who lives nearby. Certain next-door nuisances -- such as annoying pets, unkempt yards, foul odors, and dangerous trees -- could reduce your home value by 5% or more, according to the Appraisal Institute. So what's your recourse? Try working with your neighbor but before you approach them, have a game plan: Temper your temper. "The worst thing to do is march over when you're angry and demand action," says Mary Greenwood, author of How to Negotiate Like a Pro. Take 24 hours. Give notice. Don't try to work this out over the hedgerow. Schedule a time to chat. Maybe even invite the offender to your house, a friendly gesture that also allows him to see his ugly satellite dish from your perspective. Do your homework. Before the conversation, research what state laws or local ordinances apply, in case your neighbor needs extra persuading. Keep a log. A record of your dispute can help refresh your memory should you eventually go to the authorities or to court, says Emily Doskow, co-author of Nolo's Neighbor Law. Home prices have been rising steadily all year due to strong demand and a limited supply of quality homes on the market. You need to make sure that you are able to enjoy this uptick in home values by limiting any objection a potential buyer might have due to neighbor issues.
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Friday, July 5, 2013
Mortgage rates continue to fluctuate with the market unsure about how long the Federal Reserve's aggressive mortgage-bond buying program will last. This week rates dipped back down again, with the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage coming in at 4.39%, Freddie Mac reported in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. A year ago, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.62%. Just a week earlier, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage skyrocketed to 4.46%, up from 3.93% — the steepest week-over-week increase on record since 1987. The 15-year FRM this week came in at 3.39%, down from 3.50% last week. The 15-year FRM averaged 2.89% a year ago. Rates remain near historic lows and homebuyer affordability remains strong for the typical family in most parts of the country, which should help fuel the ongoing housing recovery, Fannie Mac wrote. Meanwhile, the 5-year Treasury-index adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.10% this week, up from last week’s average of 3.08%. The 5-year ARM averaged 2.79% one year ago. The 1-year Treasury-index ARM remained unchanged from last week at 2.66%. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.68%. "Fixed mortgage rates fell over the holiday week as market concerns over the timing of the Federal Reserve’s pullback in bond purchases eased somewhat," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac. He added, "Rates are still low by historical standards and should continue to aid in housing affordability and the ongoing recovery of the housing market. For instance, pending home sales rose 6.7% in May to the strongest pace in over six years. In addition, residential construction spending increased in four of the first five months this year." Bankrate data also shows mortgage rates declining again. Bankrate’s 30-year, FRM fell to 4.48% from 4.61% a week earlier. In addition, the 15-year, FRM dropped to 3.62%, down from 3.73%. The 5/1 ARM actually rose to 3.48% from 3.45%.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Top experts and Money readers share their smartest tips on everything from selling a home quickly to winning a bidding war Sell your home fast Underprice it from the start. If you list your home for at least 10% less than it's worth, you'll often sell it for 10% more. Buyers notice a house that's underpriced: They'll take it by storm and drive up the price with a bidding war. People worry that setting the price low will deter bidders. That's not the case. If you don't get competitive bids, you didn't truly underprice the house to begin with. -- Barbara Corcoran, founder, real estate firm the Corcoran Group and panelist on ABC's "Shark Tank" Win a bidding war Go as high as the maximum price you'd ever be willing to pay -- if someone outbids you, you'll feel confident you gave it your best shot. Sometimes it's not just about the money. Give the seller some breathing room too. Buyers often signal their interest by offering to close quickly, but that move might backfire in this market: If the sellers haven't found a new place yet, they may be unable to accept your offer. Instead, propose a seller's residential lease. You close on the house quickly, then rent it back for 60 or 90 days. That gives the sellers a chance to look for a home in a no panicked way -- and gets you the house you want. -- Mary Beth Harrison, founder and realtor, Keller Williams Elite, Dallas