DEAR BENNY: I own a house worth approximately $400,000. The current mortgage is $25,000. A company in Florida took over the mortgage about six months ago. The mortgage company handles the tax and insurance payments through an escrow account. Given the current schedule of payments, the account has had a positive balance during all of 2012 and will average at least a $1,000 balance during the 12 months. The mortgage company wants to double the escrow payments so that the minimum balance is $1,000, the maximum is $3,000 and the average account balance is $2 ...
WASHINGTON (AP) - Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages stayed close to record lows this week, a trend that has made home buying more affordable and helped the housing market recover.
WASHINGTON (AP) - An index measuring the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes in October jumped to nearly its highest level in almost six years. Steady job gains and record-low mortgage rates have made home buying more attractive.
The coldest time of the year can also be the busiest. With holiday entertaining, overnight guests and winter getaways, it can be hard to ensure your home heating and other systems are performing for optimal comfort and efficiency. In addition, the Department of Energy reports that no matter what-energy-source you use, heating this winter will cost more, an important consideration since heating and cooling typically makes up about 54 percent of your utility bill.
Whether it's guests arriving for a holiday party, visiting relatives or holiday revelers, your home can feel like a revolving door during the holiday season. Unfortunately, all of this added traffic can also bring unwanted dirt and germs that can outweigh holiday cheer. Keep your home looking clean, germ-free and ready to welcome guests throughout the holiday season by establishing a cold-weather cleaning routine.
Did you know it's almost the year that Michael J. Fox went "back to the future?" While we don't have hover boards or flying cars, our innovations have changed drastically since 1985, especially when it comes to technology in the home. Now there are many affordable innovations that are simple to use and can add unique benefits and enjoyment to routine activities.
WASHINGTON (AP) - From purchases and prices to builder sentiment and construction, the U.S. housing market is making consistent gains.
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. builders started construction last month on the most homes and apartments since July 2008, more evidence that the housing recovery is gaining momentum.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell to fresh record lows this week, a trend that is boosting home sales and aiding the housing recovery.
On any given weekend, homeowners can be found climbing around in attics to add insulation, repairing shingles on the roof, installing new floors in kitchens and bathrooms, and handling many other home improvement projects that, with a little elbow grease, they are able to do themselves.
Q: I have a fixed-rate mortgage at 5.99 percent that doesn't have to be refinanced until 2016. I know I will want to move to a more suitable place before then, but if I sell now at current low prices, I will have very little equity left to put down on a new condo.
DEAR BENNY: I am currently trying to purchase a home from my daughter. The loan was approved, but the lender told me there is a law that if you purchase a home from a family member, they can finance only 85 percent of the sales price. Is this true? --Roger
Something small is afoot. Backyard cottages - from 800-square-foot bungalows to Lilliputian studio cabins - are springing up behind houses in many cities, some of which have changed zoning laws to accommodate them.
'Red means stop, green means go' - we learn that axiom as children. When it comes to home energy costs, however, going green can help homeowners put a stop to runaway utility bills. And maximizing your home's use of natural light - call it 'green lighting' - is a great way to boost your home's energy efficiency.
Have you ever considered composite decking but disregarded the idea because you felt like you didn't know enough about it? Maybe you've wondered how composite decking is made? Or what kinds of materials make up composite decking?
Bathroom remodels are one of the most popular home improvement projects and they provide impressive return on investment. While plenty of focus goes into selecting the perfect tile or ideal shower surround, there's one critical area that too often is overlooked: the lighting.
The heat is definitely on this winter. With winter storms hitting many parts of the country early in the season, furnaces are plugging away, causing rising heating bills. Space heating is the largest energy expense in the average U.S. home, accounting for 45 percent of energy bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Consumers are looking to keep their homes cozy as the temperature continues to drop, while also having manageable utility bills.
Fred Sheil fights crime.
The average American spends an hour a day in the kitchen preparing food and cleaning up afterward, according to the American Time Use Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Add in the time it takes to put groceries away, load and unload dishwashers, organize cabinets and pantries or just hang out, and you spend a whole lot of time in your kitchen.
Nearly everyone (96 percent) wastes up to an hour each week pre-washing their dishes, according to a recent survey. But the reality is that the outdated ritual of pre-washing can actually result in dirtier dishes and waste a valuable resource - water!
Everyone has a preferred style of kitchen, no matter if you're a chef at heart or just prefer to heat something frozen using the microwave. You may be surprised to discover your personality influences the style of kitchen you prefer. So, do you know what style matches your personality?
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. home prices rose at a modest pace in November, held back by weaker sales and a limited number of houses for sale.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly this week after four straight weeks of declines, while remaining near historically low levels.
Owning a home is part of the American Dream, yet standards on income, credit and debt are making it tougher to buy a home than it was 10 years ago. Even though requirements are relaxing, only three out of five borrowers get approved.
Installing or fixing a faucet can seem like a daunting task. But, in many cases homeowners can update the kitchen and bath themselves - all you need are the right tools, good judgment and a little time to devote to the project.
Do long, winter days holed up indoors have you dreaming of a new deck to relax on come springtime? Whether you envision transforming a deck into a personal sanctuary or building a new outdoor living space for backyard entertaining, now is the perfect time to start turning those dreams into reality.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Construction of new homes rebounded in December, helping to push activity for the entire year to the highest level since the peak of the housing boom nine years ago.
NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. homebuilders are feeling slightly less confident in their sales prospects ahead of the spring homebuying season, traditionally the peak period for home sales.
Homeowners can avoid emergency repairs by completing a few home projects each season. A simple project such as inspecting the plumbing annually can prevent the unexpected cost of repairing water damage from a pipe that burst.
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. home rental prices continued to climb at a modest pace in December, but rapidly escalating costs in cities such as San Francisco and Denver suggest that apartment dwellers are facing more financial pressure.