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Thursday, January 20, 2011

December Existing-Home Sales Jump

December Existing-Home Sales Jump: "NAR chief economist, said sales are on an uptrend. “December was a good finish to 2010, when sales fluctuate more than normal. The pattern over the past six months is clearly showing a recovery,” he said. “The December pace is near the volume we’re expecting for 2011, so the market is getting much closer to an adequate, sustainable level. The recovery will likely continue as job growth gains momentum and rising rents encourage more renters into ownership while exceptional affordability conditions remain.”"

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Little-Known Strategy for Cutting Mortgage Payments - Mortgages - NYTimes.com

A Little-Known Strategy for Cutting Mortgage Payments - Mortgages - NYTimes.com

HOMEOWNERS looking to lower their monthlymortgage payments and also save some on interest may be able to do so without all the hefty fees and daunting credit requirements of refinancing.

A little-known strategy, called “recasting,” or “re-amortization,” is available through some mortgage lenders and servicers.

It involves paying off a lump sum of the principal amount and asking to have the monthly payments reset according to the original interest rate and loan terms. The lump sum reduces the principal, so your new monthly payments decrease slightly and you save on interest paid over the life of the loan.

Lenders typically charge an administrative fee of $150 or more for this service, though borrowers are not required to pay closing costs or submit to another credit check, because they are not asking for a new loan.

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Here’s how it might work. Let’s say that as of late December, you had just over $230,449 of principal left on a 30-year fixed-rate loan for $300,000 taken out at 7.93 percent in 1995. You have been paying just under $2,187 a month in principal and interest. But if you put in $20,000 toward that remaining principal and asked your lender to reamortize your payments over the remaining 15 years on the loan, your monthly payment would drop by $184, to around $2,002. Putting in $100,000 would save $945 a month and bring payments to $1,241.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Home Owners Recoup More with Exterior Replacement Projects, REALTORS® Report

As part of the 2010-11Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, REALTORS® recently rated exterior replacement projects among the most cost-effective home improvement projects, demonstrating that curb appeal remains one of the most important aspects of a home at resale time.
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Nine of the top 10 most cost-effective projects nationally in terms of value recouped are exterior replacement projects. The steel entry door replacement remained the project that returned the most money, with an estimated 102.1 percent of cost recouped upon resale; it is also the only project in this year’s report that is expected to return more than the cost. The midrange garage door replacement, a new addition to the report this year, is expected to recoup 83.9 percent of costs. Both projects are small investments that cost little more than $1,200 each, on average. REALTORS® identified these two replacements as projects that can significantly improve a home’s curb appeal.

Home Owners Recoup More with Exterior Replacement Projects, REALTORS® Report