News Alerts, Aug. 17, 2013: Real Estate Plus

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  1. Is It Hard To Get A Mortgage Nowadays? |

    Everything is relative to the lax-to-non-standards pre-Great Recession.

    Potential homebuyers and refinancers often hear mortgage lending standards are too tight — that it’s hard to qualify for a mortgage without perfect credit. But how hard is it, really, to get a mortgage these days?

    It depends on whom you ask and what you mean, exactly, when you ask it.

    “If someone is saying that it’s harder to get a mortgage today than it was at the height of the boom — when there was no income documentation requirement — yes, of course it’s harder to get a mortgage today than it was at the height of the insanity,” says Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans.

    But there’s a perception that it’s “extraordinarily difficult” to get a mortgage when in reality, borrowers have no problem getting one when they have stable incomes, some equity or down payment, and decent credit scores, Walters says.

    So why is there a perception that it’s so difficult to get a loan?

    Borrowers have to jump through more hoops to get a loan these days, says Pava Leyrer, president of Heritage National Mortgage in Grandville, Mich.

  2. Comparing condo ownership to renting – In Other News – Crain’s Chicago Business

    Buy-to-rent-out is also a possibility. However, the down payment will likely be more and the interest rate higher.

    Now if you have enough for an all-cash purchase, it’ll be more gravy and you won’t have to maintain the exterior or common areas.

    Be sure to check the Condo rules first for whether you’d be allowed to rent it out.

    Deciding whether to rent or buy involves a complex mix of variables, but soaring rents and recovering home prices have made ownership more compelling to many Chicago-area residents. While local home prices are edging up again relative to rents, the homeownership rate is still near its lowest level since the crash. In one River North tower, the cost of owning a condominium is about $300 less than the cost of renting a similar one.

  3. HomeVestors posts largest quarterly number of new franchisees | 2013-08-09 | HousingWire

    Have you ever been involved in a real-estate-investment franchise?

    HomeVestors, professional home-buying network of independently owned and operated franchisees, announced Friday its largest number of new franchisees in a single quarter. “Sixty-four new HomeVestors franchises have opened in the past three months, which is almost double the highest number of franchisees that have previously enrolled in a single quarter,” said HomeVestors’ co-president David Hicks. “This number is remarkable and attests to continued strong interest in real estate investment and the opportunity for investors in today’s market.”

  4. Boomerang kids: Nothing wrong with living with mom and dad – Aug. 13, 2013

    Remember when kids couldn’t wait to move out of their parents’ house? Well those days are over.

    In a survey of 2,000 Americans by Coldwell Banker, young adults ages 18 through 34 said they think it’s perfectly acceptable to live with their folks for up to 5 years after college.

  5. Calculated Risk: Weekly Update: Existing Home Inventory is up 18.1% year-to-date on Aug 12th

    One of the key questions for 2013 is will housing inventory bottom this year? [Is it as tight as it’s going to get during the recovery?]

    It now seems likely that inventory bottomed early this year.

  6. U.S. Mortgage Group Forced to Correct Initiative Stats – Bloomberg

    The following has really upset a number of people. We don’t remember anything quite like it happening before.

    President Barack Obama’s administration significantly overstated statistics from a year-long mortgage-fraud initiative, including total number of victims, their losses suffered and number of individuals criminally charged, according to an FBI memo.

  7. The Aleph Blog » Blog Archive » Against Government-Subsidized 30-Year Mortgages

    What do you think of this Libertarian-leaning viewpoint?

    What is the cost to my proposal? Fewer people buy houses, and fewer houses get built. Good. We are over-housed already. Far better that investment should go to production rather than consumption in the US (opposite in China). We already subsidize mortgage lending through the tax code, which we should eliminate. Why should we favor one class of borrowing over another?

    Let the apartment REITs house people. They borrow over a wide maturity spectrum, and do not rely on long-term finance. Loss of government guarantees on 30-year mortgages will not affect them.

    The Fed provided too much liquidity, and F&F provided too much lending up to 2007. Now we suffer the bust from having over-stimulated housing demand. The government rarely makes things more stable; they are pro-cyclical, and make things less stable. That’s the way politicians are, because no one will oppose a boom.

    “F&F” there is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the GSE’s (Government Sponsored Enterprises) that securitize mortgages that meet their standards. Both of them were placed in receivership and are now paying the government back for the bailouts they received.

    To be fair, even though Alan Greenspan kept interest rates very low, there were many on Wall Street who were engaging in extremely unscrupulous behavior in generating and packaging what came to be called toxic securities: tranches with a mixture of AAA and junk that investors could not possibly sort out and that were rated AAA by the rating agencies paid by the Wall Street firms issuing those toxics. F&F got into that game later and did not reduce standards to as low as Wall Street stooped. That said, would you agree that David Merkel raised some valid points?

  8. IRS: Affordable Care Act (ACA) Tax Provisions (& helpful links to other sites)

    You may be a sole-proprietor investor or have a number of employees. Regardless and if you are in the US, this site and the others linked to from it may help you to weave your way through all the rules and regulations, etc., surrounding The Affordable Care Act (ACA).

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or health care law, includes new health insurance coverage and financial assistance options, including the Premium Tax Credit, for individuals and families. The IRS will administer the tax provisions included in the law. Visit for more information on coverage options and assistance.

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or health care law, contains many tax and other provisions for employers. The IRS will administer the tax provisions included in the law. Visit and for more information on other provisions.

  9. Growing Pains as the Economic Recovery Turns Four – YouTube

    Freddie Mac’s Vice President and Chief Economist, Frank Nothaft, gives a video preview of the August 2013 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook.