Florida Real Estate News

Fort Lauderdale News

Updated: Thursday, October 28, 2021

How To Choose The Right Home For You…and Your Dog

Data over the last several years shows that millennials are largely driven in their real estate purchase not necessarily by proximity to work or readiness for marriage and kids, but, instead, by their desire to provide a nice environment for their dogs.

Sometimes, people are awesome.nbsp;

If youre one of those people that are looking to move in order to create a welcoming home environment for your dog, or a dog you plan to bring in, here are a few things to look for.

A workable floorplan

Do you have an older dog? Getting up and down the stairs might not be so easy. Perhaps a ranch->

A safe yard

When youre looking at houses, youre going to want to pay close attention to the outdoor space. Is there enough room for your pooch to run? Is the yard fenced? Is the fence in decent shape?nbsp;

Other doggie friends

While you may not be keen to meet up with other humans and their pets during this time of social distancing, this too shall passright? And, when it does, you may want to make sure youre positioned in an area thats dog friendly.nbsp;

Barking dogs

Then again, the neighbors dogs might be nightmares. Having mega-barkers around you is never fun, but it can be especially painful if that barking also gets your dogs going.

A park nearby

Even if you dont have acres for your dog to explore, having a park nearby can be a great substitute.nbsp;

The wildlife situation

Are you looking at areas where there are coyotes or other predators? You not only have to think about the danger factor but also what life will be like if you cant put in as doggie door and have to leave your dog alone while youre gone for large stretches of time.nbsp;

Is it a busy street?

Dogs get out. It happens. Being in a high-traffic area could increase the possibility that your dog will be injured or worse by a car. Said Homes.com: You may always have your dog on a leash, but what about those times they escape out the front door when youre distracted or when a child or visitor or service man leaves the door open? Will they rush into a quiet cul-de-sac or a busy street?

Nooks and crannies

If you do buy a two-story home, that unused space under the stairs would make a great dog hangout area

Community rules

If you have or are considering a breed like a pit bull or German shepherd, youll want to make sure there are no restrictions in the communities youre considering. Some condo and townhome communities may also have size restrictions, and there also may be limitations on how many pets you can have.

Even if you own a piece of property, its not guaranteed that your pets will be welcome there, said the American Kennel Club AKC. Depending on the number and the breed, there can be restrictions within an Homeowners Association HOA,nbsp;condonbsp;development, or even the city or state, at large.

The right flooring

If youre buying new construction or plan to renovate, you may also want to think carefully about dog-friendly-materials. One of todays most popular options is luxury vinyl tile, which gives you the look of wood but with a much easier-to-care-for, pet-friendly material. Luxury vinyl tilenbsp;is an excellent choice for homes with furry companions, said Armstrong Flooring, for its long-lasting durability, easy cleaning and 100 waterproof planks.


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Will You Finance? How to Answer This Question

Okay so you recently listed your home and have begun to receive offers. So far, the offers have been lower than what you want so you decide to wait a little longer to see if the current list price is accepted. Pretty soon, not only did someone match your list price with their offer but also bumped it up a little bit. Thats hard to ignore, isnt it? But theres a caveat: the proposal asks that you finance the transaction. A >

The first thing to find out is why the potential buyers are wanting you to carry the note on the property. Many times its because the buyers have had their credit damaged and cant seem to find a competitive mortgage program. Before you get too much further, you need to ask the potential buyers why they need seller financing in the first place. If they tell you its due to their low credit scores, the next question is to ask why the scores are too low. If youre still interested in this full-price offer, youll next need to pull a credit report. Dont accept a credit report supplied by the buyers, instead get one of your own.

Low credit scores typically represent a marginal credit history over time. Some late payments, recent ones, are showing up on the credit report along with various late pays stretching out over the past couple of years. This clearly indicates a >

First, youll need a down payment. Not just 3 or 5, but one closer to 20 or even more. This reduces the risk at the outset and leaves you some equity in the transaction should you ever need to foreclose due to non-payment. Next, decide on what the terms of your personal note will be. A short term note of say two to three years is ideal because it gives the buyers time for their credit scores to repair to the point of being able to refinance into a conventional mortgage later on. And amortize your note over 30 years to lower the payments.

Finally, make sure they can afford your new terms. Use the same debt ratio that mortgage companies use. Including the property taxes and insurance, calculate the total monthly payment. This number should be around 30 of the buyers gross monthly income. Get copies of their paycheck stubs to make that comparison. If youve been satisfied, you should get with an attorney to put a legal note together.

If youve decided to say yes to this proposal, youve got some upfront cash to the tune of 20 of the sales price or more, youve gotten a full price offer plus a little more and you have some secured monthly income for the next two to three years.


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Halloween Decorating and Marketing Tips For Selling Your House

Planning to deck your house out with ghosts and skeletons and every last one of the pumpkins and gourds in your supermarkets produce department? If youre also planning to sell your home, you might want to rethink that strategy.

There are mixed opinions on how much to decorate for Halloweenor if you should at allwhen selling your home. Can it actually help you sell a home if you turn the holiday into a marketing opportunity? Possibly. We took the temperate of the industry for some guidance.

When should you put up your decorations?

You may want to keep an eye on your neighbors for this one. If youre the first house on the block to decorate, your home may stand out for the wrong reasons. If youre still worried that your Halloween dcor may distract from the home, follow Mass Realtys advice. Overall, you wont want to put up spooky Halloween decorations until the night of Halloween and make sure to take them down the next morning, they said. Instead, its alright to put up seasonal decorations, such as pumpkins, bright leaves, or colorful corn cobs. That way, no one gets offended and you can keep them up for weeks to feel the spirit of the season.

Should you continue your annual spooky theme?

You may be known for your elaborate displays that have a different theme Friday the 13th, Carrie each year, but perhaps its best to forgo that when trying to sell your home. If Halloween is your holiday, it is best to take a break this year, said Shorewest Realtors. Over decorating will hide your home and turn off potential buyers. Instead think of how you will decorate your new home

If you do want to add some Halloween-specific decorations, use common sense. Experts say keep Halloween decorations neutral, said Lyst House. So what Halloween decorations should you avoid? Well for startersclowns, dead children, blood and gore, and rotten pumpkins.

Time your listing photos right

Be careful with your listing photos if you do decorate for Halloween. If your home is still for sale come Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years and even Valentines Day, your photos will look extremely dated. This will likely turn off buyers, who may wonder whats wrong with you home because its been on the market a while. A good tip is to use spring photos, if possible, said Fortune Builders. If you can, try to take property photos when the sun is shining and you can take advantage of all the great natural light that spring has to offer. It will help your property stand out in a cold and gloomy market.

Dont miss a marketing opportunity

If you must decorate for the holiday, hold a Halloween open house to attract buyers with children or those young at heart, said Mass Realty. Set the date for the weekend before the spooky holiday to bring in more potential buyers. Offer homemade cookies and a 10 gift certificate to an ice cream shop for the adult with the best costume who registers at the door. Take photos to compare costumes after the open house. Have your real estate agent contact the winner to pick up the prize, giving the agent time to discuss the home with all who registered.

Turn it into a party

We love this idea from Opendoor, who threw Halloween Open Houses in three Arizona cities on Halloween night last year. We greeted trick-or-treaters at three Opendoor houses in Glendale, Gilbert, and in North Central Phoenix, they said. We gave out more than 1,000 candy barsas well as other tasty treats. We had games and activities for the whole family, including a fun real estate trivia game. The big hit, though, was the haunted GIF photo booth to capture the fabulous costumes of our visitorswe had lines at every house The event was a huge success. We saw more than 1,200 guests across all three homes and, more importantly, we brought our neighbors across the valley together on Halloween night.


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What Is a Home Renovation Loan and Should You Think About One?

For many homebuyers, a picture-perfect, move-in ready home is the dream. For others, a project house they can get for a discount and then put their personal stamp on is too good to pass up. The problem with many of these project houses, though: coming up with the money to complete the projects.nbsp;

Once youve depleted your savings to gather the funds for your down payment and closing costs, there may not be much left over to knock down that wall between the kitchen and living room, redo the counters and cabinets, and put in new hardwood flooring. Add in the costs of new furniture and hiring movers, and it could be years before youre finally ready to make those improvements.nbsp;

This is where a home renovation loan can help.nbsp;

What is a home renovation loan?

Although they are growing in popularity, home renovation loans are not anywhere near as prevalent as FHA loans for first-time buyers. According to thenbsp;Mortgagenbsp;Bankers Association MBA,nbsp;first-time home buyersnbsp;account for more than 75nbsp;percentnbsp;ofnbsp;FHA homenbsp;purchases, said FHA Handbook.nbsp;

But maybe they should be.

After all, a home renovation loan can scratch a few different itches:

1. It feeds into that tempting renovation craze, offering an opportunity to redo a home with funds that are tied into your loan.nbsp;
2. It allows buyers who cant afford a move-in home, or who are making offers and losing out on those homes, to purchase something that is likely more affordable.
3. It gives buyers a chance to build equity quickly.

Heres how it works. Renovation loans bundle funds for the home purchase and renovation. There are a few different options from which to choose. Here are the most popular:

Fannie Maesnbsp;Home>

The Fannie Mae Home>

FHA 203kSimilar to the Home>

There are two different FHA 203k loan options:

Full LoanThe Full Loan is intended for a primary residence that needs serious or significant repairs.
Streamline LoanThis can be used for smaller repairs and caps out at 35,000.

FHAs 203k loan requires a minimum credit score of 500 with a down payment of at least 10; a credit score of 580 or higher allows a down payment of 3.5, said MarketWatch. These loans cant be used for work that the FHA deems a luxury, such as installing a swimming pool.


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The Best Benefits of Houseplants

Having greenery in your home isnt just aesthetically pleasing. There are a lot of great health benefits as well.

Even if you dont have a natural green thumb, a plant here or there can still deliver the following benefits.

Reduce Stress

Who among us couldnt do with a little less stress in our lives? This is especially true since many people are still working from home and dealing with the effects of the pandemic.

A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that if you have plants in your home or office, which may be the same for you these days, it can help you feel calmer and more comfortable.

Indoor gardening lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and plants might reduce both psychological and physiological stress.

There are a lot of different theories researchers have as to why plants might help reduce stress. For example, you might think about outdoor spaces when you see them, making you feel more patient. Admiring your plants can also make you more mindful.

Immune System Boosters

Plants can boost your immune system in multiple ways. First, if they make you feel more >

Plants also have airborne chemicals and phytoncides that are >

A 2002 research review found that people recovering from various types of surgery needed less pain medication and had shorter stays in the hospital than people not surrounded by greenery during their recovery.

Better Productivity

When you have plants in your home and your office, you can be more productive. This may be because plants give you something beautiful and vibrant to look at, making you feel more creative and focused.

You add color and liveliness to your workspace, giving you a mental boost.

In 2004, a study was conducted where researchers asked participants to make creative word associations. The study participants with plants in the room with them performed better.

There was a study in 2007 showing that people with plants in their work area were more productive and took fewer sick days.

Air Quality Improvements

Houseplants are excellent at absorbing toxic substances that might be floating around your home, like formaldehyde and benzene. These are artificial materials that produce gas pollutants. Researchers from Virginia Tech found houseplants can also reduce dust indoors by up to 20.

NASA researchers have looked at these air-clearing benefits, and they recommend that you have anywhere from 15 to 18 houseplants for a house thats 1800 square feet. Even if you dont have that many, just one or two plants can benefit the quality of your air.

Also, plants >

Plants increase the amount of oxygen in the air by absorbing carbon dioxide. They >

When you have more oxygen, your energy, focus, and mood are all likely to benefit.

As humans, we have a deep connection to nature. When you bring nature indoors to surround you in your daily life, its going to help reconnect you to that. There are physical and psychological benefits to houseplants that are worth exploring.


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What Real Estate Agents Should Know About Lightroom Presets

If youre a real estate professional, your photography is a top priority. Youre facing a lot of competition when it comes to beautiful real estate photos, but using Lightroom presets might help you stay distinctive.

Well cover what you should know about Lightroom presets and how they work to help you figure out if you should integrate them into your marketing.

What is Lightroom?

If youre enti>

Adobe Lightroom is a photo editor. Lightroom has some of the same features as Photoshop, but its more than just a software solution to edit photos. You can also import, manage and organize your photos.

Lightroom is described as a non-destructive photo editor. You dont have to worry about the save button as you do with Adobe Photoshop because all of your edits are automatically saved in your catalog. The catalog is a database of your history and edits.

If you shoot any of your own raw photos, its a good idea to import them into Lightroom. You can do your basic editing here, like cropping, exposure, and white balance.

What Are Presets?

Presets are a set of instructions that come in a file. When you use them, your photos are automatically adjusted based on those instructions. Its kind of like a high-end Instagram filter.

This way, youre saving time because you dont have to spend hours tweaking the perfect photos.

A Lightroom preset configures settings within a file, and you dont have to know much about the technical details to take advantage. You can import and then install your file into Lightroom and apply it to your photos, so you get beautiful outcomes with a single click.

You can do it on your phone or your desktop.

If you want to make more changes once youve applied the preset, you can do that as well.

When you use your preset, while youre just making a single click, there might be hundreds of changes in shadows, hues, colors, contrast and grain.

Presets in Real Estate

Theres a lot of benefits to using presets if youre a real estate professional.

When you use presets, you are of course getting the most beautiful photographs. They look more finished than they would otherwise. Youre going to be able to brand yourself as more polished and professional overall.

Youre going to get more clicks on your MLS listings, Redfin and Zillow, meaning more leads.

There are a few other things that make them beneficial.

First, if you always use the same presets, that can in and of itself become a distinctive part of your brand and a way you set yourself apart. Your Instagram feed will look carefully curated and have consistency, which is visually appealing.

When you use presets, you can do bulk editing. If you had 200 photos of a property, for example, you dont have to edit them all individually. Instead, you can apply your Lightroom preset to all of them and sync your settings. Then, from there, you might just need to make a few more minor adjustments.

You can also save money on a professional photographer, which may not be in your budget. Buying presets tends to be affordablewhile the prices can vary depending on the creator, theyre usually around 30-40 each.

If you want consistency, branding, simplicity, and time management in your real estate photos, its hard to argue against presets.


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Dressing Up Your Home

How long ago did you buy that IKEA kitchen because it was cool and affordable?nbsp;

Now, the cupboards look tired and you dont feel like paying a fortune to have someone gut the kitchen which is otherwise fine.

The internet is useful for more than shopping on Amazon and watching Netflix. There are ingenious creative alternatives out there if you just dig a bit and resist the urge to dump the old for something new, but perhaps, to fit your budget, of lesser quality.

If its just the cupboard doors of your IKEA kitchen that need an overhaul, John McDonald is a step ahead of you.

His Seattle-based company, Semihandmade and its site semihandmade.com, address the need to update, upgrade, or even customize IKEA base cabinets with new doors. Backed by inspiring showrooms in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, and Chicago, Semihandmade has contributed cupboard doors to thousands of kitchen do-overs.nbsp;

Now, many people buy brand-new IKEA base cabinets, so they can cost-effectively use Semihandmade.com to create that custom-made cabinet look

Improve one main element in any room and you have a new room

Using the Semihandmade estimator and design support, you can transform your kitchen cabinets from traditional to sleek modern or anything in between.nbsp;

Todays stuck-at-home reality, combined with work-from-home pressures, has gone beyond shining a spotlight on decor and functionality. Now, every corner of home is scrutinized with a magnifying glass What simple-yet-stunning, on-budget transformation have you added to your home recently? Or, do you have something in mind, but are not sure where to start?

Considering a Move?

  • If you are in limbo, for whatever reasons, an extensive and expensive renovation may not be the answer right now. Want more choice for your next home? Homeowners who are waiting until they can find something affordable that theyd love to move into, still want to love where they live now.nbsp;
  • If you are positive selling is just months away, tackle presentation preparation by decluttering and sort-of packing. If youll want your home staged to draw out every purchasing dollar, there may be little value in spending on decor right now. A thorough cleaninggreat prep for listing and stagingcan make your place feel and smell brand new.nbsp;

Heres a few thoughts to get your creativity rolling:

A touch of decor refreshening may be uplifting. Identify the drab, tired rooms and much-used corners that need attention. Select and prioritize your projects. Start and finish one project at a time, so you dont feel overwhelmed by mess and disorganization.

Paint is ingeniousa fast, cheap, and easily adjustable solution to almost anything. I had a white dining room wall that was a backdrop for a large colorful piece of art. I wondered for a while what the wall would look like in the artworks darkest shade of purple which I loved. After I plunged in and painted, all I could say was, Why didnt I do this sooner? If Id hated it, a paint-over would have set things straight quickly. What paint experiments await you? My advice: Go crazy with an accent color you love.

Pinterest.com as a creative resource can be too much Wonderful, but you can end up clicking or swiping for hours. That site has taught us all that a little inspiration goes a long way. Sometimes seeing a lot of ideas at once overloads us, which leads to inaction.

Select the drab-est corner of your home and then visit one site, read one design book, and flip through a few magazines. Let your copying genius roam through the pages. Consider an idea or two to refresh your dullest corner. Then, dont be shy about searching through other books, magazines, or designers sites for that fresh color to apply, a whimsical idea to incorporate, a striking plant to add, cozy carpet to spread, or an easy design effect to adapt. Its just one corner, so take a few chances.

Go shopping in your own home to find the right accessories or new furniture. Whats in the attic, garage, or basement that can be dusted off or repainted to become the perfect centerpiece for your mini-make over? Or, is there something in those unopened boxes from your move-in a few years ago? Youll discover in-home art, furniture, and accessories in other rooms the same way. The prices are unbeatable

Have a perfect blank wall for a large art piece, but only a small budget? Create your own mural. Make it as wild and wonderful as you like. Step back and see what you have. That should have been fun even if it isnt a work of art. Does it improve the room? If not, paint over it and have another go. Large colorful or graphic rugs or blankets are great wall art. They also have sound baffling benefits.

Plants can warm a space, adding color and texture. The cut-leaf philodendronthe mid-century modern emblemis a stunner. Jade plants and other succulents are hardy and beautiful. Whatever you choose, buy as large a plant as possible, but make sure its needs match light levels and humidity in your home. Or, do something eccentric, like suspending a large avocado pit over a dramatic decorative glass jar full of water, so you can watch the pit seed grow into a small tree.

Do-it-yourself is a valuable alternative when youre good at it, you love it, and the small project is a short-term fix. Simple projects can have a big impact if you choose carefully.

Talk to your real estate professional to make sure these minor changes are useful if youll sell soon. Also keep track of real estate markets youd like to move to, so youll be ready to act quickly when the time is right.

Measure twice, cut once remains the best DIY advice.


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Home Seller Tips To Having A Successful Open House

Holding an open house for your soon-to-be-listed or newly on the market home is a lot like being on a game show where edging out the other contestants in a short period of time is key. In TV game shows, such as "Jeopardy," the contestants dont automatically know answers to so many trivia questions; they study and they plan and they make it appear to viewers like they walk around with that body of knowledge every day. Open houses need to be thought of similarly. Once your home is on the market, an open house is your opportunity to plan and strategize how you are going to win over buyers in very short time.

Even in a strong real estate market where houses sell quickly, its still important to ask your agent to hold as many open houses as possible until the home sells. One reason is that even buyers with agents still like to look at homes on their own without feeling the pressure of a home tour. Sometimes their agent is out of town when your house goes on the market. Many buyers are not represented by an agent and the only way for them to tour a home is through an open house. Your agent will plan the open house to include everything from signage to freshly baked cookies. As a seller, you should take the following steps:

Depersonalize

Back to the game show analogy, think of depersonalizing as studying the answers and questions before trying out for "Jeopardy." Your house is lovely for how you live in it, but buyers dont want to see you in your house. In fact, the more your house makes it difficult to guess who lives there age, >

Declutter

While you are depersonalizing its also a good time to declutter as the two go hand in hand. The more simple and understated your home is, the more likely buyers can see the home for what it is and imagine themselves in it. When you have too much stuff cluttering walls and counters and shelves, buyers turn their focus toward those things and sometimes even make the assumption in logic that if you are cluttery, then you are disorganized, which means maybe you dont take care of the house as well or as on time as you should. A good rule of thumb is to box up or store at least half of the smaller items displayed in your home.

For example, how much is on your kitchen counter right now? Now imagine reducing that number to just three things. What would you choose to keep versus store? Some sellers are benefited by going to other open houses in their area and looking at how other people have decluttered and arranged what is left. Online pictures, such as what is found on Pinterest, can help too. Often you can get some good ideas on what works visually just by seeing how others do it. When you are all done decluttering, clean your home like never before because buyers notice dirt and grime. Hire a maid service if you have to.

Lure Them In

The outside of your home is as important as the inside, especially the front entry area. Before an open house, take care of simple yard maintenance such as mowing, edging and weeding flower beds. A fresh layer of mulch adds color especially in winter months when not much is blooming. At your front door, clean off spider webs, blown leaves, and place a large, colorful pot of annuals or anything you can buy in season.

Complete Your Honey-Do List

While you have the yard power tools out, dust of your workbench and take a walk around your house inside and out. Make a list of all maintenance issues such as wiggly door handles, missing fascia, paint that has chipped, etc. and repair them before the open house. Buyers see even the smallest of maintenance issues as an extension of the condition of larger items such as roofs, plumbing and major appliances and assume you havent taken care of the home. You might talk to your realtor about a pre-inspection to deal with all home maintenance and problems upfront, before you get into contract with a buyer.

Be Cautious

Once you have taken the above steps and you are ready for the actual open house, theres one last thing to plan. Protecting your valuables and identity. It might be rare, but criminals do use open houses as a way to case a house or to find collateral to steal identities. Make sure indoor safes are locked and hidden. Store heirlooms, checkbooks, prescriptions, and valuable jewelry away from prying eyes. Utilize a >
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Ask the HOA Expert: Limited Common Elements, Quorum Rules

Question: Does the board have the right to grant exclusive use of common areas to one or a few members? Several of our owners have requested to expand the size of their decks or patios.

Answer: Common elements available to one or several members instead of all are referred to as "limited common elements". This means they are common but limited to exclusive use of one member as in the case of a unit deck or designated members as in the case of a private street.

These limited common elements are typically identified on the legal plat and cannot be expanded without encroaching on common areas which belong to all owners in an undivided interest. So, the board has no authority to allow such requests. Changing this requires a vote of members which may be up to 100.

Question: At our recent annual meeting, an issue was brought up and a motion was made on something that was not on the agenda for the meeting. The president allowed the motion to be made, seconded and voted upon. But, there were not enough members represented to constitute a quorum. Was this an illegal vote?

Answer: The vote was illegal due to lack of quorum even if it had appeared on the Meeting Agenda. Without a legal quorum, no business may be transacted or elections held. You might have a lively discussion but nothing official can take place.

Lack of quorum is an all too common scenario than can be cured by proxies. A proxy is the written authorization by one member given to someone to act on their behalf at the Annual Meeting. Proxies must be distributed well in advance of the meeting and collected before the meeting to ensure a legal quorum. Getting folks to return their proxies can be challenging and multiple requests may have to be made, including going door to door to collect them if necessary. There is a sample Proxy in the Meetings section of www.Regenesis.net

Question: We recently had our unit chimneys cleaned. A board member accompanied the contractor and opened and secured units upon exiting. As a result of this process, it was discovered that one of the units was jammed with stacks of newspapers, garbage, furniture blocking hallways, piles of clothing and cases of cans. The resident is clearly suffering from a hoarding problem.

Should the board get involved in this situation? No neighbors have complained of any noxious smell. The area outside her condo is tidy. She keeps to herself, is pleasant to the staff and not a smoker.

Answer: Turning a blind eye to a hazardous situation is not the way to go. A letter to the resident and landlord if applicable is in order. When garbage isnt being disposed of regularly, it is only a matter of time before there is vermin problem. The fire hazard potential sounds great as well so the letter should include a request to remove or store flammables.

Question: Can the board offer discounts to members that prepay a special assessment rather than participate in a payment plan?

Answer: No discounts should be offered since they would cause a shortfall. It is appropriate, however, to charge late fees to those that dont pay as agreed.

However, it is a bad idea for HOAs to finance special assessments at all because of the increased administrative costs and the likelihood of dealing with delinquent payments. For example, If you have a 30 unit condo and allow 24 monthly special payments, you have 720 payments to track and 720 potential collection problems. Instead, require each member to provide special assessment funds from whatever source they have available. Some have cash, some has an equity line of credit or credit card. The HOA should not finance the special assessment or borrow the money.

Question: Our homeowner association is made up of condominiums built in a townhouse >

Answer: Its a very bad idea to allow individual unit owners to do or pay for this kind of work directly because of:

1. Quality Control. Is the person doing the work experienced? Is the material being used of good or superior quality?
2. Risk Management. Is the person doing the work properly insured for injury and liability?
3. Owner Still Financially Responsible. Doing this kind of work does not >

Question: What kind of expectations or working >

Answer: The board should:

1. Support the managers decisions unless a clear mistake has been made.
2. Not undermine the managers actions in rules enforcement and collections.
3. Carefully consider the managers advice since it comes from experience and training.
4. Be respectful of the managers busy schedule.
5. Allow the manager to execute the terms of the management agreement without micro-managing.
6. Remember that the manager works for the board.


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Less Stress – Managing Your Cash Flow As A Real Estate Agent

2020 hasnt been the best year for property sales. The market has experienced its biggest decline in almost a decade, slashing agents earnings dramatically. For many, this has led to cash flow issues as income has dropped or dried up altogether.nbsp;

The role that commission plays in the real estate industry means that you need to prepare for unexpected dips. The best way to do this is to take a proactive stance on money matters so that future downturns dont dent your pocket.nbsp;

Draw Up A Plan and Budget

A cash flow plan and a budget are two essential tools for managing income and expenses. Your plan and budget must cover 12 months, and rather than making it a once-off exercise, revisit those documents regularly, adjusting them as required.

When drawing up your budget, include cash contingency plans that offer some >

Be Realistic

Income, expenditure, and cash flow forecasts are not an exact science, but that doesnt mean you should give in to fantasy. You may be tempted to predict property sales will increase by 70 during the year. Even though this may be possible in theory, its highly unlikely.

Its important to be as realistic as possible about yourself and your real estate agencys current and future positions. The best approach is to be conservative in your predictions and projections. If you find yourself with surplus funds, you can use them for extras that are surplus-dependent or put it toward cash contingency plans.

Keep Track Of Income and Expenses

As a real estate agent, good financial management requires that you keep track of income and expenditure meticulously. Take note of everything, no matter how small or trivial some expenses may seem.

You need to stick to your budget if you want to realize your cash flow plan. If you dont keep an accurate record of how much money comes in and goes out, budgeting correctly will be impossible.

Review your budget monthly, and when doing so, pay close attention to fixed costs and overheads. You may be able to find ways to save money on at least some of them.

Plan For The Best - and The Worst

When forecasting and planning, put the extra time and effort into drawing up plans for best- and worst-case scenarios. This way, you can try to cover all your bases.

Create your best-case and worst-case plans when you have completed your cash flow plan. Using the plan as a guide, take the best case to be approximately 25 higher than the most likely scenario. Calculate the worst case at 25 lower than the main plan.

Stay On Top Of Taxes

Remember to include taxes in your financial plans. This will help you manage your money and ensure you never fall foul of the IRS or incur penalties.nbsp;

A smart business strategy to apply here is to pay tax every three months rather than once a year. Theres less paperwork to deal with, and the tax amounts should be manageable. Another way is to put a percentage of your commission into an account thats dedicated to taxes. Alternatively, you can combine these approaches.

Prepare For Cycles

Like many industries, real estate works in cycles. There are times when the property market is hot, and when its not. While these trends arent always predictable, estate agents need to develop the habit of being ready for them at any time.nbsp;

One way to prepare for a downswing is to purchase a few short-term certificates of deposit. You cannot touch the money you invest until those CDs mature. When theyre ready, youll get more out than would be possible with a regular savings account.nbsp;

Another option would be to set up a savings account that you can access at any time, but you add to monthly. If your commission for a month is higher than usual, you can save a larger amount. This way, youll have extra capital for the leaner times, and your cash flow wont be stunted.nbsp;

As you can see, managing your finances as a real estate agent requires foresight and dedication. By applying those qualities to the tips above, you can put yourself on the path to good cash flow management.


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How To Deal With A Neighbor From Hell

Nothing ruins new-home enjoyment like a neighbor who rules the roost with an iron fist and an intolerance for all things fun. Or the one who causes all the dramaor all the noise. And those are just a few of the types of neighbors you hope to NOT have.nbsp;

You can read cautionary tale after cautionary tale, and get in a few laughs at the same time, on the Neighbors from Hell Instagram pagewhich is, frankly, our newest obsession. The reality is that you may not be able to avoid every neighborhood grouch when you buy a house, but you can prepare by doing your research in the areas youre considering TODAY has some good tips for that here..

And if you do end up with a neighbor whos concerning, here are some steps to take to diffuse or mend a tense or problematic situation.

Lend an ear

It may just be that your neighbor grumpiness is a call for help. Sometimes, all it takes to tame a grouch is to show a little kindness to someone who needs someeven if they dont deserve it.nbsp;

Lend a hand

Does your neighbor have an overgrown lawn, shutters with peeling paint, or siding that needs to be power washed? You might assume that theyre neglectful, but there might be a bigger problem that youre not aware of, said The Spruce. The family may be dealing with sickness, or their lawnmower broke down and they cant afford a new one.

Dont be afraid to stand up for yourself

Then again, sometimes you need to show strength to someone who isnt used to having a viable foe. While it may be easier to take the highroad, you might have to get in the muck to get the results you want.

Get support

Its always easier to achieve desired goals through joint efforts, said Rentberry. If its likely that youre not the only one unhappy about your neighbors behavior, you should check if someone else is ready to side you. This point is especially important if you decide to contact local precinct or file a complaint in court. In this case, quantity matters. The more people share your opinion, the more chances to win you have.

Get the authorities involved

If were talking about breaking laws or dealing with intimidation or harassment, you may have to escalate the situation.

Steer clear of danger

Sad but true, some neighbors are not worth getting to know wellbut its still good to know something about their dislikes and boundaries, so you dont cross them, said HGTV. In 2006, for instance, headlines were made when Charles Martin, an elderly man living in a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, shot a 15-year-old boy to death because he had apparently made the error of walking across his meticulously manicured lawn.

How to handle them: Martinwho is in jailmay have been destined to snap no matter what his neighbors did or didnt do, but he was well known for the care he lavished on his lawn, and in theory, if that 15-year-old had been more aware of the kooks devotion to his lawn, it might have kept him from going anywhere near the home.


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What Are the Features of an Entertaining House?

If you ever watch real estate shows, youll often see the participants say they want to be able to entertain. What does that mean as far as the features in a home? If youre someone who likes to throw dinner parties or you regularly host gatherings, what features should you look for in a true entertaining house?

An Open Kitchen

Probably the most popular feature of any home where theres going to be a lot of entertaining going on is an open, modern kitchen. Kitchens tend to be the inherent gathering point of any home, plus if you have a lot of parties or dinners, then youre probably cooking a lot too or at least prepping in the kitchen.

If youre in the market for a new home and you love entertaining, look for a kitchen thats wide and open where people can gather.

Having a spacious kitchen island or a bar is a good option too.

In general, an open floorplan is suitable for entertaining because people can move about easily without being trapped in tight spaces where they cant talk with another as easily. You want guests to feel like they can mingle pretty freely in your home.

A complimentary dining area adjacent to the kitchen is also good for entertaining.

Basement or Recreation Room

A basement or rec room area is great for entertaining all ages. For example, if you have teenagers, a lower-level area can quickly become where they migrate.

Theres a lot you can do with these additional spaces, like having a game or media room, a wine room, or a card room.

When you have a lower level, separate space for entertaining, you can also have other things going on in your home at different times without people getting in each others way.

Indoor-Outdoor Continuity

When the weather is nice, its great to bring a party outdoors. If youre an entertainer, look for a home with a nice flow from the indoors to the outdoors. For example, maybe pocket doors open to a deck or patio.

An outdoor kitchen is great for entertainers, and even if your home doesnt already have one, theyre >

Half Bath on the Main Floor

If you host frequently, look for a home with at least a half bath on your main floor and close to the gathering areas.

You dont want your guests to walk upstairs or through a bedroom to go to the bathroom if possible.

Its always nice when you can keep the more private areas of your home separate from your entertaining spaces.

Guest Suite

Finally, if youre a household that likes to entertain, you might also have guests from out of town who come to stay with you.

With that in mind, youll also want to consider the layout of the guest rooms if you buy a new home.

Its best if the guest area can be completely self-contained with its own bathroom, and preferably in a different area of your home from the other bedrooms.

That way, if you do have guests overnight, you all have privacy.


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Earnest Money vs. Down Payment: How Do They Compare?

There are two terms you might hear if youre in the market to buy a houseearnest money and down payment. The two are not interchangeable, but sometimes theres confusion between what they are, what they arent, and how they compare.

Understanding both earnest money and a down payment is critical to buying a home. Too often, buyers will think only about the down payment they have to make up front, but they dont consider other costs.

What is Earnest Money?

Earnest money you might also hear referred to as an escrow deposit. Earnest money or an escrow deposit is an amount of money that you, if youre a buyer, put into an escrow account only after a seller accepts your offer.

The objective of earnest money is to show a seller that youre entering into this transaction in good faith.

Another way to look at earnest money is as if its a security deposit.

An earnest money deposit is not a good faith deposit. Under some circumstances, your earnest money might be refundable. What your earnest money does is allow you a specific amount of time to get your mortgage financing in order and also go through any other steps in the buying process, like inspections and appraisals.

Earnest money is usually calculated as either a fixed amount or a percentage. Which one youd pay depends mainly on the market where youre buying.

In some markets, theres a standard, fixed amount of earnest money no matter the purchase price.

Once your purchase agreement is accepted, you submit that amount of money.

For other markets, its common to do a percentage of the purchase price3 for example.

Your earnest money is deposited into an escrow account where it can earn interest.

If youre in a competitive market, earnest money deposits are a good way to set your offer apart. Youre showing that you genuinely intend to buy, and if you can put forth a bigger earnest money deposit, youre signaling that you might be a safer buyer. If you can put that money up early on, the seller might feel youre more financially stable, so they can worry less about something causing the sale to fall apart at the last minute.

If you make it to loan closing, then your earnest money deposit goes toward your down payment.

Along with making your offer stand out, earnest money can also be a way to compensate a seller for taking the house off the market as you finalize transaction details.

If you dont make it to closing, you may lose your earnest money.

To guarantee you get it back, you should have contingencies in place to protect the deposit, like a home inspection or appraisal contingency.

Whats a Down Payment?

A down payment is something that, as a buyer you can put toward the purchase of a home. The seller receives it, and then the rest of the homes purchase price comes from your mortgage.

Lenders require down payment minimums. The minimum required amount is 3 of the purchase price of a home, but 20 is best. The closer you can get to the 20 down payment, the more likely youll be approved for a mortgage. Also, youll have smaller monthly payments on your mortgage.

If your down payment is less than 20, your lender will probably require you to buy private mortgage insurance or PMI. PMI is a way for your lender to protect itself if you default on your loan.

Key Takeaways

Both earnest money and down payment are essential parts of buying a house. Earnest money can sometimes be returned if the transaction doesnt go through if you have contingencies.

In some cases, a seller will get to keep your earnest money if you dont go through with the purchase.

A buyer and seller can usually negotiate on earnest money, and it can be anywhere from 1 to 2 of the purchase price, up to 10 in very hot markets.

Earnest money can accumulate interest.

A lender requires a down payment as part of your mortgage, and you dont negotiate it with your seller. With that being said, you pay it to the seller and not the lender, and then the rest of the purchase price comes from the mortgage.


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How Google Chrome Plugins Have Become the New Best Friends of Realtors

Make no mistake, real estate is a cut-throat industry, arguably one of the most competitive out there. If you dont act on your opportunities, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone else will. Connecting with prospects is undoubtedly one of the most important tasks for any successful realtor, seizing on opportunities to scratch the backs of both buyers and sellers.

What if we were to tell you that theres an easier way to improve your productivity and operational efficiency as a realtor,nbsp;andnbsp;ba>

Efficiently handling emails

This is one of the biggest bugbears in real estate. Unorganized email inboxes can be the difference between closing or losing a sale. Its not worth losing track of email conversations with prospects. Businesses that operate with Gmail accounts are increasingly looking at integrated plugins and extensions within Google Chrome that simplify email communications between real estate teams. A plugin called Hive is becoming increasingly popular due to its ability to segment emails into shared mailboxes but manage them from individuals personal inboxes. Specific email threads can also be assigned to colleagues and internal communications can also be attributed to email threads without the need for email forwarding, CCs or BCCs to confuse matters.

Staying up to date with feeds

In the real estate industry, keeping up-to-date with industry trends and developments is vital for any realtor. Whether its policy changes or government announcements, its vital that you are kept abreast of these situations. Google Chrome has accepted plugins such as Feedly that allow realtors to select the kind of content they need to consume on a daily basis. With bespoke curated news feeds, its possible to get >

Support for B2B lead generation

Realtors looking to improve their teams and recruit proven sales talent often struggle when it comes to headhunting. Many people find themselves at something of a dead-end when it comes to getting contact details for prospective leads. When it comes to establishing quick and genuine connections with potential candidates, its important that you can not only provide your own contact details but access other B2B contacts at the touch of a button. Plugins like the Lusha for LinkedIn extension simplify the process, with enriched and verified B2B profiles, compatible with LinkedIn accounts that so many real estate professionals use for finding work and building contacts.

Automating signatures

Another major bugbear for realtors that can decelerate the process of sale completions is signatures. All too often, real estate teams have to scramble to download PDF documents, email them to clients, ask them to sign them and either rescan or mail them back to their offices. Its not only a time-drain but a data protection risk too. The Google Chrome DocuSign plugin makes it possible for individuals to electronically sign documents, allowing realtors to collect all the signatures they need in a quick and secure manner. The extension fires out reminders to those who are yet to sign their documentation and notifies realtors when a document has been digitally signed and is ready to go.

Getting accounting assistance

As any real estate business will testify, its not easy to keep track of expenses, particularly when it comes to monitoring cash flow and filing year-end accounts. As real estate agents spend a lot of time out on the road, its becoming increasingly common for expenses to rack up. Whether its food, fuel or accommodation, managing these expenses and keeping on top of them isnt easy when there are deals to be completed looming in the background. The Fyle Chrome extension is another handy piece of kit that makes it possible to capture expense data directly within email confirmations in Gmail. Lets say for example that a hotel room had been booked. Fyle would capture the hotel name, resort fees and store it in the background, ready for when you need to generate monthly or annual expense reports.

There are so many Chrome plugins that could benefit your real estate agencys productivity. Google Chrome is one of the best web browsers out there, capable of enhancing your social media marketing and communications at the touch of a button.


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When Is “For Sale By Owner” The Right Option?

When you put your home on the market, one of the first decisions youll make is whether to hire an agent to represent the property or to go the for sale by owner route.

While a portion of homeowners initially goes into selling their home on their own, they end up ultimately hiring an agent.

Some of the big reasons homeowners decide to try and sell their home on their own are because they think it will save them money and time. Some homeowners also feel like they understand their home better than a real estate agent will.

So when is it the right option to try and sell your home on your own without an agent?

The Basics of For Sale By Owner FSBO

FSBO means that as a homeowner, you list your home for sale without a real estate agent, making you responsible for the process from start-to-finish. Some of the things youll have to do include pricing and listing your home, staging it, negotiating, and closing.

The standard real estate commission fee is around 6, and trying to save that is one of the primary motivators for people to go the FSBO route.

Along with avoiding the listing commission, there are other benefits of FSBO.

Youll have full control over the price at which you list your home.
You can schedule your open houses and showings, so youre not stuck at the last minute trying to leave the house.
Youre going to be motivated to get the highest possible amount for your home.
You know not just your home but also your neighborhood best.

What Are the Downsides of FSBO?

Some of the potential downsides of trying to sell your home on your own, aside from the commission youll pay, include:

A real estate agent understands how to properly price a home to sell based on fair market value. You may be emotionally attached to your home, which can be problematic. You may think your home is worth more than it is, or you might be offended if someone criticizes your home. A real estate agent doesnt have that emotional connection so they can be objective.
Real estate agents have access to local listing portals, the MLS, networks, and other agents.
Some agents wont show a home thats FSBO.
Real estate agents understand how to efficiently manage the procedural aspects of selling a home, such as the paperwork.

When Does It Make Sense To Sell Your Own Home?

In many circumstances, working with an experienced, professional real estate agent is best.

There are a few cases where it can make sense to opt for FSBO, however.

If you already have a qualified buyer whos interested in your home before it goes on the market, you may not need a listing agent. One of the big roles of an agent is marketing, and if you have someone who plans to buy your home, you wont need an agents expertise in that area. It is important to separate interested buyers from qualified buyers in this case.
Is there a lot of demand in your market? If youre in a high-growth market and inventory is limited, you may be able to sell your home quickly and for top-dollar without an agent.
Can you take your time? If youre in no real hurry to sell your house and you can wait, then you might be able to sell it on your own successfully.

If you do the research and think FSBO is best for you, remember to price it accordingly, based on market research rather than emotions.

Create a listing thats high-quality with professional photographs and an optimized description.

Finally, if you arent going to have a real estate agent, you should work with an experienced real estate attorney early on to protect you and help guide you through the process.


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Simple Ways An HOA Can Go Green

While there is continuing debate about global climate change, one >

Homeowner associations often control a variety of systems, processes, equipment, designs and materials. In all HOAs, there are opportunities to improve energy efficiency which often produce economic benefits as well. This is a win-win: doing well by doing good Here are some ways an HOA can go green:

Eco-landscaping.nbsp;

This involves a combination of careful plant and tree selection, turf reduction, chemical fertilizer elimination and water management. The days of broad green spaces are making way for a myriad of options that are more water and earth friendly. Selecting pest resistant and drought tolerant native species saves on maintenance, water and pest control. Fitting sprinkler systems with rain override sensors reduces water. Reducing turf areas reduces mowing and the pollution generated by gas powered equipment.

Donate It.

Many areas have building product and material recycling centers which will accept lumber, doors, windows, cabinets, sinks, carpet and appliances. If you are renovating your clubhouse and have an option to donate used material and equipment instead of dumping, do it. Craigslist.com offers a free way to dispose of building materials.

Offer Recycling.

Some jurisdictions have mandated recycling as part of the trash collection process. When recyclables are separated from trash, the trash load is reduced and trash collection costs less. With less trash, the landfill load is reduced as is the contamination of soil and ground water. Even where recycling is provided, compliance lags due to consumer laziness. The HOA can remind residents of their civic duty and the obvious benefit of lower trash collection costs.

Where government recycling requirements are absent, the HOA can create its own system by establishing a centralized recycling station for glass, metal, paper and recyclable plastics that is serviced by a contractor or committee. While individuals can haul their own recycling, the easier and cheaper it is to do, the greater the compliance. Centralize and economize.

Manage Energy Better.

Take full advantage of power and water saving devices. LED Light Emitting Diode use minuscule amount of energy compared to other forms. Add solar activated exterior light controls so lights burn only when needed. Replace high flow plumbing fixtures with low flow models. Insulate water pipes and heat ducts.nbsp;

Recycled Paint.

This option is becoming more prevalent in metropolitan areas. Leftover latex paint is screened and blended into a popular pallette of colors and resold at a reduced price. For options, Google "[your state] recycled paint".

Go Solar.

Many states offer incentives for adding solar power generation or solar hot water systems. If your buildings have flat roofs or good southern exposure, consult with local solar system providers for options. For HOAs with pools, solar water heating can often pay for itself quickly and significantly lower energy consumption. .

Packaging Reduction.

This is an often overlooked strategy in reducing waste. Packaging can range from none like buying food in bulk to Fort Knox like hard shell plastic wrapped around electronics to reduce theft. Consumers generally have a range of packaging choices in many products. Opting for the one with less packaging is a conscious decision to help green the world.

Make it Fun

The intriguing thing about going green is there are so many ways to pull it off. The HOA can encourage the process by offering prizes for effort and creativity. Those that step up are often willing to help recruit and encourage others. The news media loves to run stories about grass root green efforts. Make your HOA a standout and be seen as green.


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Secured vs. Unsecured Debt: How Lenders See Them

A mortgage is a type of loan to finance real estate. The real estate can be a residential property or it can be a commercial one. The terms mortgage and loan arent necessarily interchangeable. Yes, a mortgage is a loan but a loan isnt necessarily a mortgage. One of the primary differences is whether or not the loan is deemed secured. What does the term secured mean? It means the lender has placed a lien on the item being financed. This collateral reduces the amount of risk to the lender. Should the borrower ever default, the lender issuing the secured note and recover the asset via repossession or foreclosure. Someone for example with an automobile loan who goes a few months without making a payment might soon discover their car is no longer in the drivewaythe lender took it back. Further, if the current value of the asset isnt enough to pay off the existing loan balance, the borrower is still on the hook for the remainder.

This leads us to the terms secured and unsecured debt. An automobile loan is an easy way to understand security. If payments are made on time each month, or at least during that month, the automobile stays in the driveway. That said, most notes have language that allows the lender to charge a late fee if the payment is not received by a certain date. A note might have a payment due date on the 1st of the month but if the payment is not made by the 15th, a late penalty fee will be tacked on.nbsp;

And because the automobile loan is secured, if the payments are not made, the lender will take back the car. When the automobile loan is ultimately paid off, the lender will >

Mortgages are also a secured debt. In the same manner, the lender has a legal interest in the property while the mortgage is still in place. Each month as a mortgage payment is made a portion of the payment goes toward the lender for interest due and a portion goes directly to the outstanding loan balance. A mortgage is indeed a loan, but an automobile loan is not a mortgage. The terms are not interchangeable.

An unsecured loan is one where there is no collateral attached to the note. A common unsecured loan can be debt acquired with a credit card. Someone with a credit card can go out and buy a new suit and make monthly payments on the card. Using this example, if someone can longer make the payments on the card and cant make any financial arrangements with the card issuer, the issuer can send the outstanding balance to a collection department or agency and ultimately charge off the balance altogether. With unsecured debt, the lender wont try and recover the business suit. There is no lien attached. This process works with any type of unsecured debt.


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September Real Estate Roundup

Freddie Macs results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that "Mortgage rates rose across all loan types this week as the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield reached its highest point since June. Many factors led to this increase, including the Federal Reserve communicating that it will taper its support of the capital markets, the broadening of inflation and emerging energy supply shortages which compound other labor and materials shortages. We expect mortgage rates to continue to rise modestly which will likely have an impact on home prices, causing them to moderate slightly after increasing over the last year."

30-year fixed-rate mortgage FRM averaged 3.01 percent with an average 0.7 points for the week ending September 30, 2021, up from last month when it averaged 2.87 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.88 percent.

15-year FRM this week averaged 2.28 percent with an average 0.6 points, up from last month when it averaged 2.17 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.36 percent.

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage ARM averaged 2.48 percent this week with an average 0.3 points, up from last month when it averaged 2.42 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.90 percent.


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Updated: Thursday, October 28, 2021

Simple Ways An HOA Can Go Gree...
While there is continuing debate about global climate change, one >Homeowner associations...
> Full Story

Secured vs. Unsecured Debt: Ho...
A mortgage is a type of loan to finance real estate. The real estate can be a residential pr...
> Full Story

September Real Estate Roundup...
Freddie Macs results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that "Mortgage rates rose a...
> Full Story

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