A Narrow Escape

Sanjib Saha  |  Aug 12, 2022

I ENVY THOSE WHO can remain patient and calm in almost any situation. Thanks to my neurotic personality, I find it hard to wait for an outcome over which I have little control. This year, I narrowly escaped that sort of agonizing experience. What happened? We found ourselves selling our home during 2022’s suddenly cooling real estate market.
I was surprised last year when the red-hot property market pushed our modest home past the $1 million mark.

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The Humble Landlord

Steve Abramowitz  |  Jul 28, 2022

MY FATHER WAS BUILT like a linebacker and hollered like a coach. One evening in the late 1950s, I accompanied him as he went door-to-door to collect rents.
A tenant called Schoenfeld—I only recall his surname—paid his rent reliably, but he was always a month late and he didn’t include the late fee. This drove my father nuts. That night, he unloaded on him. When I asked my father why he had to be so hard on Schoenfeld,

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Procrastination Pays

Kristine Hayes  |  Jul 15, 2022

I CONSIDER MYSELF to be a reasonably skilled do-it-yourselfer. I’ve tackled painting, plumbing and even small electrical projects with the help of YouTube. I figure I’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years by completing various projects myself rather than hiring a professional.
A couple of months ago, our utility provider offered my husband and me a deal on a new “smart” thermostat. The utility would give us the thermostat for free if we agreed to sign up for one of its energy saving programs.

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Falling Like a Brick

Mike Zaccardi  |  Jul 11, 2022

IF YOU THINK STOCKS have fallen fast this year, check out the collapse in the National Association of Realtors’ housing affordability index. The index tracks how financially easy it is for the typical family to buy a house with a conventional 30-year mortgage.
May’s reading of 102.5 is down sharply from the 154.4 recorded in December 2021 and it’s just a whisker away from the lowest levels seen in the past four decades. For those of us in the southern U.S.,

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Home Sweet Whatever

Kevin Thompson  |  Jun 24, 2022

I PURCHASED MY FIRST home in 2005. At the time, I was a Major League Baseball prospect with the New York Yankees organization. I had always been taught that homeownership was part of the American dream. Looking back, I’m now much more skeptical.
Purchasing a home on my salary was difficult. Minor leaguers don’t land big contracts like their counterparts in the major leagues. In fact, I had multiple years when I made less than $10,000 as a professional baseball player.

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Homebuyer Beware

Joe Kiefer  |  Jun 21, 2022

THE MOST GALLING moment came when the notice of a sheriff’s sale was nailed to a tree in our front yard. The message to passersby was all too clear: “Deadbeats live here.”
Except they didn’t. Our house was in foreclosure—but the debts weren’t ours. They belonged to the people we had bought the house from. How did we escape what turned out to be a two-year ordeal? Three words: owner’s title insurance. How did we get caught up in such a mess?

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Staying Put

Kristine Hayes  |  May 27, 2022

I’VE MOVED SIX TIMES in the last 10 years. Four of those moves involved relocating less than a mile. The most recent move–from Portland, Oregon, to Phoenix, Arizona–required significantly more travel.
As a child, my family changed homes frequently. I attended five different elementary schools between first and fourth grade. I’ve never minded moving. I’m not the type of person who gets attached to a home or a particular location. I’m a firm believer that change is a good thing.

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Agency Problem

Michael Flack  |  May 19, 2022

MOST PEOPLE THINK that selling real estate is the flip side of buying. But in most cases, selling is a very different enchilada, and that should drive who you hire as a REALTOR®—and, yes, that is the preferred style.
Buyers face an almost infinite list of potential properties to purchase. Initially, almost every house is a possibility. As the buyer and agent review the buyer’s requirements, the list is whittled down until the dream home is found.

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Betting the Ranch

Theresa Sarappo  |  May 2, 2022

IT WAS 2010, I WAS age 52, I’d just divorced—and I found myself with neither a home nor a fulltime job.
As part of the divorce, we’d sold the house. Between the cash from that sale and some savings I’d amassed when I was single, I had a modest nest egg. I also had a teenage daughter who needed to stay in our current school district.
The rent on my lovely two-bedroom townhouse was devouring my savings.

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Yielding to Reality

Mike Zaccardi  |  Apr 11, 2022

IN THE MARKET FOR a home loan? Chances are, you aren’t pleased. Amid soaring real estate prices and intense demand, mortgage rates have climbed above the psychologically important 5% threshold. Mortgage News Daily published its rates update on Friday afternoon, and the figures weren’t pretty for prospective borrowers. The 5.06% average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is close to the highest mark since late 2008.
Meanwhile, over the past 12 months, home prices are up 19.2%,

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Seven Figure Sale

Dennis Friedman  |  Apr 7, 2022

MY WIFE DECIDED TO sell the house she bought before we were married. We’re both retired and I view it as another step in our ongoing efforts to simplify our financial lives as we age.
My wife and I interviewed a real estate agent who was recommended by a friend. Steven suggested we do some minor repairs before listing the house. Steven also gave us his opinion on the sale price. He told my wife she had a nice little starter home and we should list it in the middle of the estimated price range.

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Talk About Hot

Kristine Hayes  |  Mar 23, 2022

WHEN I PURCHASED a house in Portland, Oregon, in 2018 for $375,000, my plan was to stay in it for four years. By 2022, if everything went according to schedule, I’d be set to retire from my fulltime job. Then I’d sell the house, and my husband and I would move to Arizona, where we’d purchased a second home in 2019.
Conventional wisdom suggests that homeowners should plan on remaining put for at least five to seven years to come out ahead on a home purchase.

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Cutting Their Cut

Tom Kubik  |  Feb 11, 2022

LET’S SAY YOU BOUGHT a few stocks on the advice of your financial advisor for $300,000. One year later, that same advisor says you’ve done really well on the stocks—which are now worth $400,000—and you should sell. After the sale, you net a $100,000 profit. Would you be willing to pay your advisor a 6% fee on the $400,000, equal to $24,000, for the advice he gave you?
If so, I’d think you were crazy.

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Out of Reach

Mike Zaccardi  |  Feb 2, 2022

HOME AFFORDABILITY is finally taking a hit now that mortgage rates have ticked higher. Last May, I wrote that property prices were through the roof but homes were still affordable. The reason: Historically low borrowing rates, coupled with record high median family income, had offset robust home prices.
The National Association of Realtors’ latest figures show housing affordability rivals that of last May. But the figures don’t yet reflect higher interest rates. Freddie Mac posts the latest set of mortgage rates each Thursday.

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Up and Away

Kristine Hayes  |  Jan 27, 2022

MY HUSBAND AND I purchased a home near Phoenix, Arizona, in 2019. It was the second house we’d bought in less than a year, so we were only able to come up with a 10% down payment. That’s meant paying $70 a month for the past 30 months to cover the cost of private mortgage insurance (PMI).
With property values in the Phoenix area up 30% since 2020, I knew I should contact our mortgage company to see if we could get the PMI payment removed.

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