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?
WASHINGTON (AP) - Sales of new U.S. homes were basically flat in January, evidence that recent job gains and relatively low mortgage rates have yet to spur the real estate market.
To satisfy homeowners seeking to add a signature style to their indoor living spaces, more and more design professionals and builders are going back to basics and rediscovering the versatility, durability and good looks of cypress.
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. home sales struck a snow drift in January, plunging to the slowest pace in nine months.
For the first time in six years, Energy Star certification, a standard seal of approval for energy efficiency, has been expanded to include another major household appliance.
Some 37 million residential water heaters gave up the ghost and were replaced over the past five years, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy. While some things get better with age, water heaters aren't among them. In fact, the average life expectancy for a new water heater is 10 to 15 years, with the occasional stoic dinosaur making it two decades or more.
The kitchen is the heart of the home and a top-selling feature with homebuyers. Does yours convey style and functionality? Whether you've just completed a remodel or you're looking for ways to upgrade your existing kitchen, a tile backsplash will instantly transform the space into an eye-catching masterpiece.
A remodeling project is one of the most invigorating lifestyle changes a homeowner can make. However, trusting a contractor with both your home and your money can feel overwhelming. Spare your time, money and sanity by following these steps for choosing the best remodeling contractor:
Every year the Central Valley Association of Realtors recognizes members who have gone above and beyond in the real estate profession and community service. This year CVAR named two recipients as Realtor of the Year - Shelly Bell and Larry Rumbeck - and as Affiliate of the Year, the honor goes to Taylor Phillips.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates have risen for a second straight week yet remained near historically low levels.
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. home rental prices rose at a steady rate in January, but prices barely budged or even dipped in parts of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.
LOS GATOS - As millennials enter the home-buying market in larger numbers, builders say homes will get a little smaller, energy-efficient appliances and laundry rooms will be essential, and home technology will become increasingly prevalent. These predictions are based on two surveys conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, one asking home builders what features they are most likely to include in a typical new home this year, and one asking millennials what features are most likely to affect their home-buying decisions. Of the top 10 features mentioned by home builders, four have to do with energy efficiency: low-E windows ...
While you're making resolutions and setting goals, consider adding updating the look of your home to your list. If your walls are looking a little dated, follow these five color suggestions to give your space a renewed look.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose this week yet remained near historically low levels.
HONOLULU (AP) - Shipping containers: They're strong, durable and portable, stack easily and link together like Legos.
You've been dreaming about digging in your garden, changing your landscaping or improving your house all winter long. Finally the weather is nice, your yard is clear and dry, and it's time for you to get your hands dirty. With the right tools and equipment, you can get all your DIY tasks done while saving time, money and elbow grease.