7 tips for picking a real-estate agent

Ever wish you could hire the best real-estate agent for buying or selling your home? When it comes to choosing real-estate agents, “We don’t have the information that we have about other service professionals,” says Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America, in Washington, D.C. However, there are things you can do …

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Title problems can snag your closing

By Joe Gentile January 26 Joe Gentile is an attorney at Federal Title & Escrow. He has practiced real estate law in the D.C. metro area since 2000. You put your house on the market and you find a buyer right away who offered you not only your asking price but also was willing to …

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Federal Housing Administration will significantly lower the fees it charges borrowers

The White House announced Wednesday that the Federal Housing Administration will significantly lower the fees it charges borrowers, a move designed to save individual home buyers hundreds of dollars annually and help jump-start the housing market. The “annual premiums” on FHA loans, an especially popular source of financing for first-time home buyers, have increased five …

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Tips for mastering public speaking

Get comfortable with your own voice and master your fears Never turn down an opportunity to speak to the public. After all, you give presentations all the time, whether you’re trying to explain what you do for a living to your daughter’s kindergarten class (or skeptical relatives on holidays), giving a listing presentation while seated …

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Did Mortgages Just Get Easier to Obtain?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s new lending guidelines went into effect Monday, which are expected to help loosen up the tight credit standards that home buyers and refinancers have faced in recent years. The guidelines clarify when lenders will be penalized for making mistakes on mortgages they sell to the mortgage financing giants. Following the …

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Owning Still Trumps Renting in Overall Wealth

The recent housing crisis has prompted questions over whether home ownership is still a viable way toward greater wealth in this country. Confidence in home ownership was shaken, and many have had to turn to renting (the number of renters has increased nearly 25 percent since the housing crisis). The home ownership rate, in turn, …

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Title insurance: Don’t buy property without it

What’s more horrifying than losing thousands of dollars unexpectedly? Not much. Purchasing a piece of real estate, be it a family home or retail space, is one of the largest investments you will probably ever make. You think you’re prepared — you stayed within budget, had the property inspected and you took out homeowners’ or …

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HealthCare.gov open for window shopping

WASHINGTON – Nov. 10, 2014 – The federal health insurance exchange went live Sunday night for window shopping – a couple days later than some expected – as government officials worked to refine their technology and their message to one encouraging people to re-enroll to save money when they can buy plans Nov. 15. The …

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