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?
PASADENA . (AP) - My love of 100-year-old California Craftsman bungalows - those low-slung, early 20th century Arts and Crafts-era homes known for their clean, horizontal lines and sturdy woodwork - runs long and deep.
While homeowners may not immediately think of their attic as a major source of energy loss, the reality is that as much as 25 percent of the energy lost in the average American home occurs there. As the weather begins to get cooler, you may be inclined to increase the thermostat to maintain a warm and comfortable home. However, air leakage, caused by numerous gaps and cracks throughout your home's infrastructure, particularly the attic, can cause your HVAC equipment to work overtime and place a strain on your wallet every month.
As the new year kicks off, it's the premier time to refresh and refocus on certain aspects of your life ... and the home is no exception. Say goodbye to lackluster interiors as renowned interior designer and DIY television personality, Taniya Nayak, has forecasted the top trends for 2015 that will be sure to enhance and revive any home.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes rose modestly in November as a strengthening economy helped nudge some would-be homebuyers.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Average U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly this week but the benchmark 30-year low remained very close to the 19-month low hit last week.
Americans have learned a tough lesson: Your home is not your piggy bank. However, there is a reward for those who did build equity in their homes: In their senior years, their home can provide a monthly stream of tax-free income, or a lump sum of cash to spend as they wish, while remaining safely in their home. Or it can provide a source of financing for a new, smaller home.
It's little wonder that Ozzie was joined by Harriet in the work world.
The kitchen is the focal point of any home. It's a place where you eat, congregate and celebrate life's big moments. If you are an empty-nester looking for the kitchen of your dreams, a parent seeking to match your kitchen to your growing family or you simply feel inspired to change things for the better, it's time to stop dreaming and start planning.
When considering a home renovation, think outside the box for design inspiration and setting the overall tone.
When you think of the holidays, celebrations, presents and friends likely come to mind - not crime. Unfortunately, burglaries increase at this time of year, and your home could be a target. With a few simple safety precautions, you can protect your property, your family and your valuables now and well into the new year.
Bargain hunting is practically a sport, especially during the holiday shopping season. Deloitte's 2014 annual holiday survey predicts the average American will drop nearly $1,300 this holiday season. With that level of spending in mind, planning to save real money elsewhere is crucial to managing a household's bottom line.
Your porch should be a warm, welcoming outdoor living space that offers comfort and helps make a house a home. Whether you want to remodel your porch from the ground up, or just give it a refreshing new look and feel, it's easier than you think to create a perfect porch.
Are you looking for ways to update your home this new year? With so many fresh interior ideas available, it can be difficult to balance current design trends with classic styles for a look that is both of-the-moment and everlasting. Follow these guidelines to find a way to blend now and forever for a look you will love today and tomorrow.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan rate reaching a new low for the year.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Construction of new homes fell slightly in November, reflecting weakness in construction of single-family homes.