Just in case you didn’t know this already, you heard it here first: Potential buyers of vacation homes are finding it hard to get loans for a number of reasons.
That’s the conclusion of a Wall Street Journal story, “Getting a vacation-home loan: no day at the beach.”
What’s the deal? Several things, actually. Prices could fall further in those markets, if the housing economy hasn’t stabilized. Appraisal comps might be hard to come by and make lenders skittish about the report. HOAs in those areas could be in financial trouble.
The Washington Post’s real estate section recently ran an article for consumers, “Get ready for the start of real estate season.” Essentially, it offers some suggestions for preparing your home to be sold.
There’s nothing particularly new or exciting, but that’s OK — this is the kind of article that gets run every year.
What caught my eye, though, was this bit:
Choose agents, contractors and other professionals carefully.
U.S homeownership policy only encourages a nation of borrowers, and that’s a bad thing. So argues Mark A. Calabria, writing for the ultra-conservative Cato Institute, in a piece called “The Long Run Decline in Actual Homeownership.”
As it typical with ultra-anything groups, Calabria’s analysis oversimplifies the issue, then argues against that over-simplified version.
Back in 2012, Virginia received about $66 million from the National Mortgage Settlement — the money paid by mortgage lenders for falsifying records, forging signatures, and otherwise ignoring the law so they could foreclose more quickly.
Now Lender Processing Services, which worked with lenders, was also caught breaking the law. As Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan told the Chicago Sun-Times:
LPS and its subsidiaries became a sort of document factory, literally rubber stamping thousands of foreclosures with no regard for fairness and accuracy in the process.
Every homeowner (we hope!) knows about the mortgage interest deduction, but there are other tax breaks for owning a home. Can you deduct discount points? Local property taxes? Home-office additions?
What’s the future of Fannie and Freddie? No one knows. The consensus seems to be that it should have a much smaller role in the secondary mortgage market, and possibly re-privatized. But the specifics… well, that’s anyone’s guess.
One of those guesses: US News & World Report’s Jason Gold argues that “Fannie and Freddie Aren’t Going Away Anytime Soon.”
There seems to be no hurry among policymakers to decide the fate of Fannie and Freddie, but it looks increasingly as if the GSEs are here to stay.
Some of his points:
“Follow the money” goes the rule — and that in mind, a lot of that money is going into the housing market. By investors, that is.
So explains the CNN article, “Big money betting big on housing“:
Hedge funds and private equity firms have been rushing in to buy up companies and assets in every part of the housing supply chain, including undeveloped land, homebuilders, foreclosed homes, and building parts manufacturers.
Denise Ramey, 2013 president of the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors, spoke to a local CBS affiliate about the proposed homebuyer savings accounts that VAR’s introduced as part of its 2013 Legislative Agenda — why they would be great for consumers, the real estate market, and of course Realtors.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released its new rules governing how mortgage servicers must treat borrowers. They take effect January 2014, and apply to all mortgage servicers with 5,000 or more loans.
The goal of the new regs is to make sure that servicers can’t railroad borrowers who fall behind on their payments. It comes about partly as a result of the “robo-signing” scandal, where those servicers falsified thousands of documents in an effort to foreclose on borrowers.
Certainly you’re much more involved in the buying end of things, but this is the kind of general housing-related information you should be aware of. We’ll keep it short, though.
The new rules, in a nutshell:
The Virginia Association of Realtors® has announced its support for Governor Bob McDonnell’s plan to help fund transportation in Virginia.
Speaking on behalf of VAR and in support of the plan is President Mary Dykstra of Roanoke, who said: