April 2015

Found 10 blog entries for April 2015.

Nine Inch Nails Frontman 

The musician’s Mid-Century Modern masterpiece is listed for sale for $4,495,000. Reznor purchased the architectural beauty in 2007 for $4,187,500, according to the Los Angeles Times.

If the exclusive address seems a little tame for an industrial rocker, the 49-year-old Reznor, who’s married with two kids, has gone a bit … Hollywood. His switch from high-energy rock to soundtracks helped him snag an Oscar for his score to “The Social Network.”

And as the chief creative officer of Apple’s Beats Music streaming service, Reznor adds “company man” to his varied resume. The performer even traveled to San Francisco—apparently to cheer from the audience—for the Apple Watch announcement last month.

With news of his home

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First Time Buyers

If you’re a first-time home buyer just entering the market, you’re in for a surprise this spring: Fannie Mae will now pay your closing costs, up to 3% of the price of the home—provided you take the mortgage giant’s home-buyer counseling course first.

The new HomePath Ready Buyer program, announced last Wednesday, allows first-time buyers (defined as those who have not owned a home in the past three years) to complete an online course, get certified, and become eligible for what could amount to significant savings. For instance, on a $150,000 home, Fannie Mae could contribute up to $4,500 toward your closing costs— which can range from 2.5% to 3% of a home’s price—and even reimburse you for the $75 online course.


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Seven Years Later

Nearly seven years after the 2008 housing collapse threw millions of homeowners into crisis, the foreclosure rate is finally edging closer to normalcy. In February of this year, according to the CoreLogic National Foreclosure Report, there were 39,000 completed foreclosures, down from 46,000 reported in February 2014. That’s a 67% decrease from their peak in September 2010.

For the 12 months ending in February, foreclosure inventory overall dropped 27.3% as more and more homeowners remain current on their mortgages due to rising employment, higher home values, and buyer demand. Before the collapse, completed foreclosures averaged about 21,000 per month nationwide from 2000 to 2006, according to CoreLogic.


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Home Prices are High

These days, most homeowners trying to sell a home have the upper hand—a seller’s market means home prices are high, inventory is low, and sellers can afford to be choosy with offers.

But what happens when that changes? Places like Boston that were paralyzed for weeks by a brutal winter, are already bucking the trend and moving toward a buyer’s market, when potential home buyers hope to leverage their bargaining power.

When the number of homes on the market outnumbers the number of buyers, sellers may be more willing to negotiate on the price of their home and offer concessions to close a deal. But potential buyers are wrong to assume they’ll be able to find bargain-basement prices.

Follow these five tips to make sure

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Truly Paradise

We’ve all seen actress Julia Roberts on the big screen. Now you have a chance to go behind the scenes and peek at her beautiful Hawaiian estate. Roberts just listed for sale her seven-bedroom, four-bathroom home in Hanalei, HI, for $29.9 million, according to Pacific Business News.

Walking up to the home, you’ll know right away you’re in the Aloha State—and not just because of the magnificent views of Hanalei Bay and the lush, green mountains of Kauai. The home’s tropical design and laid back island vibe are enough to make you want to bust out your grass skirt. Under the classic Hawaiian gabled roof there is a large covered porch, perfect for watching the sun set over the Na Pali Coast.

Inside, the home has spacious rooms under

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 Right Now

Looking to buy a house? You’d better bring your A game. High season is here, and it is without question a seller’s market. Prices are moving higher, faster, according to data available for the month of March.

“We are now firmly in the time of the year when peak demand and peak inventory levels typically occur, through spring and early summer,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist with Realtor.com. “Buyers should expect substantial competition, especially in the hottest markets, and for affordably priced homes within most markets.”

Internet traffic of new home searches set new highs last month with over 50% more activity than in March of the previous year and 40% more searches for homes for sale.

And where were all these people

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For the Last Minute Person

April 15 - No other date inspires more paralyzing anxiety. Glaring from the pages of your calendar, it’s an ever-present reminder that Uncle Sam needs you to file your taxes.You don’t have much time left. So get busy! Whether you own a home or rent, there are real-estate-related tax savings for all to claim—if you file on time:

 Home energy tax credit: This credit allows homeowners to take advantage of alternative-energy upgrades to their home. If you installed solar panels, a geothermal heating system, or even a fuel cell, you can get a credit for 30% of the cost of the equipment. (You probably knew that when you installed them, right?)

Home office deduction: Both renters and homeowners can take advantage of this

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Help Many Get Approved for that have Previously had Difficulty

Fair Isaac Corp., the creator of the most widely used consumer credit score, announced on Thursday a new score intended to help make millions of people who have had difficulty getting approved for financing creditworthy.

The pilot program from Fair Isaac, also known as FICO, allows 12 of the largest U.S. credit-card issuers to identify consumers who have had difficulty getting approved for credit, though FICO didn’t name the issuers. FICO said the score complies with regulations and will allow lenders to “extend credit responsibly.” The firm plans to complete the pilot program and make the score available to more lenders later this year.

The announcement was made in conjunction

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Tax Advice

 The tax implications of a home sale can be complex, particularly when you’re selling a family members property rather than your own. It’s always best to consult a professional tax adviser to get individualized advice, but there are some general tax tips that may apply to your situation.

 Selling a home as an heir to the property

 Your tax bill will vary according to how and when you acquired the property.

 Recent inheritance. “If you inherited your home through a will or a trust and you sold it right away, you won’t have to pay a capital gains tax,” says Pat Simasko, of Simasko Law in Mount Clemens, MI.

 Your residence. If you’ve claimed the property as your primary residence for at least two of the past five years, then you

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Your Movers

Tip etiquette is a touchy subject to begin with. It’s even more fraught with questions when deciding whether or not to tip your movers. Because movers are entrusted with your personal possessions and do a lot of the heavy lifting (pun intended), you may feel obligated to reward them for their hard work. Although movers are being paid to provide a service and to haul your belongings from place to place, they could be worthy of extra recognition for a job well done.

 So, yes, please tip your movers if you are happy with the job they’ve done. They don’t expect a tip and a mover won’t stand in front of your house with an outstretched hand and a raised eyebrow. However, as with any personal service provided—be it from a waitress or a

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