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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NAR real estate forecast: Better times ahead

NEW ORLEANS – Nov. 10, 2014 – Existing-home sales are expected to be higher next year, and prices will remain at a healthier level of growth that benefits both buyers and sellers, according to an economic forecast during the 2014 Realtors® Conference & Expo. Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Mel Watt joined …

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All Settlement Providers Involved in Transaction Encouraged to Implement Best Practices

No matter what function an entity provides in completing a mortgage transaction, it’s important for all settlement service providers—including title and settlement agents, escrow companies, Notaries, mobile closers and attorneys—to understand the heightened regulatory demands and additional liability being placed on lenders. “Service providers must be proactive and aware of how the industry will operate …

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How to finance a fixer-upper

If you’re buying a home that needs a little TLC, a typical fixed-rate mortgage isn’t going to help you pay for repairs. Your lender, for instance, isn’t going to approve a $300,000 loan to buy a home that’s only worth $250,000. And, while homeowners sometimes use home equity loans to remodel, you can’t get a …

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Beginning September 2, 2014, the Florida Department of Insurance has mandated that every title insurance policy issued in Florida will have an added surcharge of $3.28.

Why the assessment? The surcharge is mandated by Florida law. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”), which regulates title insurance underwriters in Florida, is required to implement and enforce collection of the surcharge. These funds will be used for the payment of claims and administration expenses for two failed domestic underwriters that are currently …

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