July 2014

Found 29 blog entries for July 2014.

Peace of Mind

Paying off your mortgage before you stop working could help provide you with peace of mind. But there may be better uses for your money, at least in the short term. If you have credit card or other high-interest debt, pay it off first. And take care of your retirement savings. Your remaining years on the job represent your last chance to put away money in tax-advantaged retirement accounts. Finally, you should have an emergency fund so you’re not forced to use retirement accounts to cover unexpected expenses.

Keeping your mortgage has other advantages, too. A balanced investment portfolio has a good shot at beating the low rates on mortgages now. And if you itemize deductions, the after-tax rate on a mortgage is even lower.

 If

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Could Be Most Expensive Home Ever Sold in U.S.

Twenty-five-year-old billionaire heiress Petra Ecclestone, the daughter of Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone and wife of gold-mine owner James Stunt, bought the famous Los Angeles mega-mansion known as "The Manor" in 2011. Which was built by legendary TV producer Aaron Spelling for his wife Candy and their children in 1991, and after his passing, Candy listed the home at $150 million. But, Ecclestone ended up paying 'only' $85 million.

According to Forbes and news outletsworldwide, Ecclestone is "quietly" shopping it around for, $150 million. ("Quietly,"meaning that it's not on the open market, but obviously word has leaked out. The so-called pocket listing was reportedly given to five of Los

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The Cost of Procrastination

According to an academic research paper that was awarded $10,000 by CoreLogic, (CLGX), the real estate information company, about one in five people who could have benefited by refinancing their mortgage after the financial crisis didn’t do it. The median amount of money they lost by sticking with their old mortgage was $11,500. The paper, “Failure to Refinance”, is by Benjamin Keys of the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, Devin Pope of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and Jaren Pope of Brigham Young University.

The authors took a random sample of 1.5 million mortgages on single-family homes as of December 2010, using data supplied by CoreLogic. Some people already had low-rate mortgages, so

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Real Estate Titan

Real estate website operator Zillow is buying rival Trulia in a $3.5 billion deal that would make the biggest player in the online real estate market.Zillow would also become the king of real estate listings available on smartphones.

"It's a very sound business move by Zillow, they wiped out their closest competitor," said Benchmark analyst Daniel Kurnos. According to Benchmark estimates Zillow and Trulia are No. 1 and 2 in the online real estate market, followed by No. 3 Move Inc. Investors weren't so sure. Trulia's stock rose 8 percent in morning trading, but Zillow's fell 5.9 percent.

Zillow is known for its "Zestimate" housing price estimate, and both Zillow and Trulia offer similar information like neighborhood school

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15-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate/30 -Year Fixed Mortgage Rate

When Paul Entin and his wife, Shannon, found out that they were expecting a baby in 2004, they decided that they needed a home with more space. So, they had a friend who was a realtor help them find a house for their growing family.  It didn't take them long to find what they were looking for - they found a 1,978 square-foot house built in 1975 with four bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms.

"It had a great home office space, and the previous owner had a stack of plastics industry magazines in the basement so I felt it was going to be a good move, since I do marketing and advertising for the plastics industry," says Entin. The home, in rural western New Jersey, is located on a secluded

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A Look Forward

According to Forbes.com-if the housing market was in overdrive for much of 2013, during the first half of 2014 it came almost to a halt. Winter storms across the nation contributed to sluggish sales during the first quarter, while rising mortgage rates and tight inventory didn’t help. By spring housing began to pick up, with April Existing-Home (previously-owned) sales numbers increasing for the first time as the pace of price gains slowed. By June, sales had reaching their highest levels since last October.

Although the headlines each month can create high drama as the numbers go up and down, the theme so far this year is this: we’re steadily on the road back to normal. Here’s what real estate experts say to expect for the second

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Dunnellen Hall

521 Round Hill Road in Greenwich- Dunnellen Hall is "among the most famous of the back country's 13 [great] estates," the New York Times has said. It's the "ultimate" location on "the most famous street" in the "best town in Connecticut". Bombshell Lana Turner once lived there; so did figure skater Sonja Henie. It's also famous for the misfortunes that happened to its onetime occupants over more than half a century. "It devours the people who buy it," one local told a Connecticut gossip columnist.

Mystery owners 

The current owners -- undisclosed -- bought Dunnellen Hall in 2010 from the estate of Leona Helmsley, the late hotelier and ex-con who seems destined to be known for all eternity as the "Queen of Mean." They must have

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The "Haves" and The "Have-nots"

Mortgage rates didn't move at all last week, but more borrowers completed applications to refinance their home loans. A weekly measure of loan volume by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed a 2.4 percent increase in total applications week-to-week, with a 4 percent jump in refinances.

Refinancing has been sluggish for more than a year, after rates jumped a full percentage point in the spring of 2013. Refinance application volume is still down over 40 percent from a year ago, despite slightly lower rates currently. Loan applications to purchase a home are still languishing, up just 0.3 percent week-to-week, on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the MBA. They are down 15 percent from a year ago. This as

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Eight Month High

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. home resales hit an eight month-high in June, suggesting the housing market was gradually regaining momentum and would help the economy to stay on a higher growth path this year. The third straight month of home sales gains, reported by the National Association of Realtors, added to employment and retail sales data that have indicated economic growth ended the second quarter on a firmer note. A separate report showed inflation moving slightly higher.

"The economy is normalizing from whatever went wrong in the first quarter. Growth is up and running," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in New York. Existing home sales rose 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 5.04

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Short Sales Can be Great Opportunities
 

Short sales can be great opportunities for home buyers to get the most for their money. But much like foreclosures, they can have hidden problems that can erase or even cost more than the potential savings. A short sale occurs when a homeowner has fallen so far behind on payments that there are liens on the property — most commonly from lenders or tax agencies. The homeowner can’t afford to pay those liens in full, and works out a deal with the lien holders that allows for the sale of the home, with the proceeds settling all the debts. 

 The debtor can walk away without a credit-killing foreclosure, the creditors get paid, and the buyer gets a sweet deal. Unfortunately, the original homeowner often has been

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