- The Secure and Fair Enforcement (S.A.F.E.) Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 - a good summary.
- Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act
- SAFE Act - actual text of the law.
- Wealth Matters - If It Causes Stress, Is It Really a Vacation Home? - NYTimes.com - the problems with owning a vacation home.
- NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) - A leading indicator of whether housing prices are rising or falling.
- Inflation-Adjusted Housing Price Index from 1890 - 8/21/2005 - As you can see from this graph, developed by Robert J. Shiller, housing prices don't usually go up, when adjusted for inflation. During most of the past century, they have remained relatively flat, with local maximums and minimums. Of course, this must be true. If housing prices outpaced inflation over a long time, housing would become more unaffordable to many more people over time. Hence, housing bubbles must always collapse!
Real Estate News and Tutorials
- REALTOR.com: Real Estate 101 - Learn about real estate here: buying, selling, and financing.
- Technorati Tag: realestate - Click this link to see real estate blogs tagged in Technorati.
- Realty Times - Real Estate News and Advice - From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times a must-read site for anyone involved in Real Estate.
- Home and Garden: From Home Improvement to Decorate to Gardening - Home and garden articles.
- GardenWeb - All about gardening. Includes a forum and an exchange for buying or selling special items from other gardeners.
Real Estate Articles
- Buying Home Insurance - Part 1
- Buying Home Insurance - Part 2
- Home Inspection Checklist - Print these pages, and take them with you as you inspect homes for buying, or use it to see how your own home checks out.
- Is It Better to Buy or Rent? - New York Times - Although other factors need to be considered, this article concludes that if the price of the house is more than 20 times the cost of the annual rent, then renting is cheaper.
- The 6 Percent Solution: Skip Real Estate Agents - New York Times - A good article from the New York Times about selling your home without a realtor, or reducing their fees.
Real Estate Listings — Finding a Home
- ChoiceA.com: For Sale by Owner Site - This is a great site for selling and finding homes on your own. It is free to use and to list. It has many great features that make finding a home a breeze.
- REALTOR.com: Real estate listings & homes for sale - A good place to search for homes all over the country, with over 2,000,000 homes listed.
- Homebuilder.com: New Home Builders, Floor Plans, Manufactured and Custom Homes - The official website of the National Association of Home Builders, this site has a search engine for new homes, a library for advice and ideas, and over 11,000 home blueprint plans.
- HousingMaps - This shows real estate listings superimposed on Google maps.
- Senior Housing - Assisted Living Facilities, Nursing Homes and Independent Living - Includes a search engine for senior housing. The search can be restricted to the following categories: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Alzheimer's Care, Nursing Care, and Continuing Care (CCRC). Also includes a search engine for new homes for active adults.
Real Estate Rentals
- RENTNET: Find Apartments for Rent - This site is about apartment rentals, and includes articles about roommates, renting, and moving, and a search engine for finding an apartment anywhere in the country.
Buying Real Estate
- Buying Your First Home
- Deciding when and where to buy, and making sure you get what you pay for.
- Don't Overlook Defects in New Homes
- Shows what to look out for when having a new home constructed.
- Closing Costs
- Thorough explanation of closing costs, the money you need to close a transaction deal.
Selling Real Estate
Selling a house after the market has turned south - Jan. 13, 2006
- Clean up the outside, especially the front yard, so that if potential buyers drive by, they'll see a more desirable place.
- Get rid of personal items as much as possible so that potential buyers can identify with the place, and more easily imagine it as their place.
- Get rid of bulky furniture, lest the shoppers think the place is too small.
- If you move, put some furniture in the place, so it looks more comfy. There are places where you can rent furniture for houses that are on sale.
- You can hire a stager to do the work for you. Price range: $500-$1,200, up to $7,000 if they provide the furniture.
- Keep the house clean smelling. Get pets out of the house for showings, don't allow smoking, take out the garbage, clean drains, and garbage disposals. Take vanilla extract, put some on a light bulb, so that it will evaporate when the light is turned on during the showing.
- Homethinking: Objective Real Estate Metrics and Realtor Reviews for Savvy Home Sellers
- This site helps you to find real estate agents in your zip code. You can see what houses they have sold recently, what price was asked for, what price did they get, and what opinion the home seller had of the real estate agent. You select the real estate agents. No forms to fill out, no unsolicited calls from agents, and no unwanted email.
- HungryAgents.com - Find a Discount Realtor - low real estate commission, cheap real estate agents, compare realtors
- Get matched with full service REALTORS® in your area ready to reduce their commission & compete for your listing. Your options include:
- Compare realtor costs and find the lowest real estate commission to sell your home.
- Have REALTORS® compete for your listing.
- For Sale By Owner, homes for sale, houses, real estate, for sale - ForSaleByOwner.com
- This site obviously helps you sell your house yourself. There is a small fee that starts at $89.95, but they guarantee that you will sell your home at your price, or they will refund your money.
- USATODAY.com - Sellers put their homes on the 'range'
- A marketing method that originated in Australia, and used in the U.S. to a small degree since the mid-'90s, there seems to be an upsurge in this method as the number of real estate listings increase, and buying interest diminishing. Proponents of this marketing method say that its main advantages are that it gets buyers and sellers talking, which obviously could lead to a sale, and listing a price range will allow the listing to show up in more searches when pricing is used to filter the search.
- Although there is 1 or 2 examples of sellers getting even more than the price range, seller beware. An article in The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics stated that homes with a range take longer to sell, and with little effect on actual selling prices.
Financing Real Estate
- The Secure and Fair Enforcement (S.A.F.E.) Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 - a good summary of the Act.
- Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act
- SAFE Act - actual text of the law.
- Mortgage shopping is getting safer Amy Hoak's Home Economics - MarketWatch - A good article about the new licensing requirements for mortgage brokers and originators.
- Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS), the mortgage industry's online registration and licensing database as reported on licensing and registration forms completed by mortgage lenders/brokers, professionals or regulators. NMLS was created by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR) and is owned and operated by the State Regulatory Registry LLC (SRR), a wholly owned subsidiary of CSBS.
- Contains licensing/registration information on mortgage companies, branches and loan originator professionals licensed by state regulatory agencies participating in the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS).
- May not include all licensed/registered companies, branches or professionals. State agencies join NMLS in phases and not all agencies are fully participating on NMLS at this time. To see a list of currently participating states click here.
- Does not include information on applications not yet approved by a state.
- Does not include individuals working for federally insured depository institutions.
- Contains information that is self-reported to regulatory agencies by the licensed/registered company or professionals.
- Is updated nightly (business days only).
- New Good Faith Estimates for Mortgages
- Fannie Mae REO Homes For Sale - HomePath.com - Search for foreclosed homes here, many at good prices.
- How Lenders Do Prequalifications
- This article explains the calculations and requirements that lenders use to determine how much of a mortgage you can afford.
- Rewards and Risks of Buying a Foreclosure
- When a homebuyer defaults on his mortgage payments, the bank takes possession of the house, and then, puts it up for sale in the market. This is called foreclosure.
- The Keys to Getting the Right Mortgage
- Helps you calculate important personal financial ratios to see if you can qualify for a mortgage, and if so, how much.
- Fed Adopts Rules to Help Protect Mortgage Borrowers - NYTimes.com - How mortgage brokers profited from yield spread premiums that motivated many of them to offer loans to borrowers that were more expensive than other loans that the borrowers qualified for.
- Mortgage Credit Certificates Help Low- and Middle-Income Families Finance a House
- Authorized by the 1984 Tax Reform Act, mortgage credit certificates allow home buyers to deduct up to 20% of their annual mortgage interest as a tax credit. Unlike most tax deductions, a tax credit reduces your tax bill dollar for dollar, and can result in substantial savings for those who qualify.
- Mortgage Insurance
- How to lessen your down payment for a home with mortgage insurance.
- Some Ways to Avoid Paying Private Mortgage Insurance
- Private mortgage insurance is not tax deductible. This short article lists 2 other ways to help finance your home that is tax deductible.
- What Fannie Mae Considers in Approving Mortgages — What Desktop Underwriter® Analyzes in Your Loan Application
Real Estate Calculators
- Mortgage Calculator
- Mortgage calculator that shows, in a table, monthly payment, total interest paid, and total payment for 5 to 50 year mortgages. Calculate the monthly payment for a given loan at a specified interest, or calculate the loan amount, given a monthly payment and interest rate.
- Home Mortgage Center - Interest Rates, Home Mortgage Calculator and Refinance Information
- Step-by-step approach to finding a lender for a home mortgage. Includes articles about mortgages, credit reports, home finance basics, home equity, insurance, and finance guides.
- Bankrate.com Calculators -- mortgages, savings, small business, credit cards, auto loans and more
- Articles and calculators for home mortgages and home equity. Also has calculators for investments, credit cards, and auto loans.
- Smartmoney.com: Real Estate: The Mortgage Calculator
- This mortgage calculator shows monthly payment, total interest paid, and shows a graph of how much equity you would own over the lifetime of the mortgage. It can also calculate the effects of prepaying the mortgage, and it can show the composition of any future payment. So for a payment in September, 2020, for instance, it would show that month's principal, interest, that year's interest, the loan balance, and the equity built.
Major Real Estate Websites
- http://www.protectyourmove.gov/ - Consult this government site—the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration—before hiring a mover, especially one that you found on the Internet.
- http://owners.com/ - Resource for home owners, including help with buying and selling a home without an agent, and, if wanted, finding an agent.
- REALS.COM - Real Estate Directory - This site has many links related to real estate. Categories include agents and brokers, apartments and rentals, career training, commercial real estate, construction, finance and mortgage, for sale by owner, real estate foreclosure, international real estate, moving, property management and listing, and vacation homes.
- http://eloan.com/ - One of the best resources on mortgages. Find the best rates for buying or refinancing your home, or look for the best rates for home equity loans.
- Home Inspection SuperSite - Everything you always wanted to know about home inspections--and more. Includes how to find reputable home inspectors, and what to expect.
- List of articles about all aspects of buying and owning a home. - Topics include buyer tips, financing, insurance, home inspections, selling tips, title and escrow, and much more.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
- REITs: Explanation and Demystification - An excellent explanation of REITs—what they actually are, and how they differ from other investment companies, such as mutual funds. REITs have a good dividend yield and good growth potential at a lower beta, or volatility, than the rest of the market. Because REIT values have a low correlation, or even an inverse correlation with stock values, it is an excellent investment for asset allocation.
- Invest in REITs: Reasons to Invest - Why Invest in REITs? -
- This page presents a good comparison of the market performance of REITs compared to other investments, but at the bottom, is an excellent tool for comparing different REITs who are members of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT). Select a name from the dropdown box to get a performance report of that REIT compared to others in its sector. The drawback to this is that you cannot just pick a sector; you have to know the name of a REIT in that sector. Selecting the name from a dropdown box then displays basic facts in a table along with other REITs in that sector, with your selected name highlighted. The REIT Performance Report includes the REIT name, ticker, price per share, dividend yield, price per FFO estimates for the current or next year, and total returns for the month, year, 3 years, and 5 years, as well as total market value.
Real Estate — Miscellaneous
- Homestore Moving - Find Movers and Locate Self Storage Units - Has articles about moving, and a search engine to get quotes for moving.
- HousingMaps - This is a very innovative use of databases and maps, in this case, Craigslist and Google maps, for renting or selling real estate. Pick an area of the country then zoom in on your desired area. The map is in the left column, real estate listings are in the right. The map has 3 command buttons in the upper-right corner: Map, Satellite, Hybrid. Map displays a typical street map with small balloons where there is real estate for rent or sale. Click on a balloon on the map, and it will display detailed info in a bubble that pops up. You can also click on the yellow or red circles to the left of the real estate listings, which will take you to that area on the map. The Satellite command button displays a satellite view of the area, and Hybrid displays a map overlaid on the satellite image, which you can see in the screenshot of Raleigh, North Carolina below.
The listings on the right can be sorted by price, number of bedrooms, description, city, or date listed by clicking on the column headings. Click once for a lowest to highest sort, click the header again to reverse the sort.