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Buying a Home With Friends? Do the Groundwork

By HILLARY CHURA, The New York Times<br /><br />Real estates prices have fallen almost everywhere. Interest rates have declined. It would seem a good time — at least for those who resisted the temptations of easy credit in the last few years — to buy a vacation home. <br /><br />But lenders have toughened the rules on mortgages, making second home purchases that much harder. <br /><br />One option is teaming up with friends or relatives. The arrangement can prove a boon to the pocketbook as well as the relationship but — as with any financial arrangement — only if ground rules are established before the first check is...

Short sales an alternative to foreclosure

By Al Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Columnist<br /><br />Some homeowners struggling with mortgage payments are opting for a dose of strong medicine to cure their financial ills: a short sale, in which the lender agrees to accept less than what is owed, to remove the house from the books.<br />In a short sale, both the homeowner and the bank lose money. But the seller’s credit isn’t damaged as badly as it would be with a foreclosure, in which the lender seizes and sells the property – typically at an auction that begins with a bid equal to the outstanding loan balance, accrued interest, and any fees connected with the...

Glick on Glink for First Time Buyers

International real estate and finance expert columnist and talk show host, Ilyce Glink has quoted me on a story about First Time Buyers. Read all about it here!<br /><br />First Time Home Buyer<br />REM #C805<br />By Ilyce R. Glink<br /><br />Summary: Lenders have tightened credit requirements for <a class=”kLink” oncontextmenu=”return false;” id=”KonaLink0″ onmouseover=”adlinkMouseOver(event,this,0);” style=”POSITION: static; TEXT-DECORATION: underline! important” onclick=”adlinkMouseClick(event,this,0);” onmouseout=”adlinkMouseOut(event,this,0);” href=”http://www.thinkglink.com/First_Time_Home_Buyer_805.html#” target=”_top”>first time home buyers</a>. To qualify for a loan, first time home buyers need a credit score of at least 660 unless they try for an FHA loan. Ilyce discusses which first time home buyers are good candidates for an FHA loan and what it takes to qualify.<br...

Harried homeowners seek out help

By Alan J. Heavens<br />Inquirer Real Estate Writer<br /><br />Though foreclosure filings in the Philadelphia region are down so far this year, the faltering economy is pushing many homeowners right to the brink.<br /><br />”At first, we were seeing mostly subprime borrowers, but with higher food and gas prices and increasing layoffs, we are handling families from across the board,” says Donna Turner, director of AHOME, a counseling agency in Millville, N.J., that helps people avert foreclosure.<br />In 2007, Turner says, her office – which typically sees clients from Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland Counties – handled 114 cases. “Now, we receive four or five phone calls a week –...

3% Down Conventional is Coming!

First, some good news. Fannie Mae announced a new, national policy on down payment requirements for conventional, conforming mortgages the company will purchase or guarantee. Starting June 1, 2008, Fannie Mae will accept up to 97% LTV ratios for conventional, conforming mortgages processed through DU, and 95% LTV ratios for loans underwritten outside of DU, in all geographic locations in the United States.<br /><br />“The new national down payment requirements of 3 or 5 percent will apply to loans for purchase of single-family, primary residences.<br />Down payment requirements will vary for other occupancy, property and transaction types. The company will implement systems and operational changes over the summer to...

Why truth on housing is difficult to figure

Data from many sources are measured in different ways.<br />By Al Heavens<br />Inquirer Real Estate Columnist<br /><br />When Christopher J. Artur was president of the Realtors Association of Greater Philadelphia during the housing-market downturn of the mid-1990s, many of his colleagues urged him not to publicize sales and price data.”I argued successfully that, if we didn’t give out that information in bad times, how would anyone believe us in good times?” Artur said.<br /><br />Today, even though such data are available from numerous sources, the truth about the state of the housing market is an elusive quarry.<br /><br />For example, two major collectors of housing statistics – the National...

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