Real Estate

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Increase Your Home's Value So You Can Sell It For More

If you're interested in selling your home, it's important to try to improve it so that you don't have to reduce its price, as 22 percent of homeowners have had to do at least once. It's valuable to know what potential buyers...
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7 Biggest Home Buying Mistakes

By Paula Pant. Whether you're a first-time buyer or youve been around the block a few times, there are certain home buying mistakes that trip people up time and time again. Before you sign on the dotted line to...
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Mortgages in 2014: How New Requirements Will Affect Homebuyers

SUMMARY: Starting this year, mortgages are newly impacted by now-codified Consumer Financial Protection Bureau guidelines. And so, for first-time buyers seeking a mortgage, or those just returning to the housing market since...
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The Power of a Full House: Investors, Beware of Vacant Home Insurance Prices

By Justin Stoltzfus. March 2, 2014 There are a number of wild cards in traditional real estate investment, and one of them is an issue that will hit anyone who has to deal with a property that's on the market for any...
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Is 2014 Your Year to Refinance?

By James O'Brien. March 22, 2014 For homeowners looking to refinance, recent years have represented a remarkable run of low interest rates and special programs for leveraging new mortgage terms -- even if your home...
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Selling Your Home

When selling your principal residence, the basic tax rule is that you can exclude gains of up to $250,000 if you are a single taxpayer and $500,000 if you are a married taxpayer filing jointly, provided the home was your...
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Should You Rent or Own?

It seems like everyone either owns a home or is saving to purchase a home. Certainly, there are significant financial and tax reasons for owning a home. While you typically only make a down payment of 10% or 20% of the...
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Tips for This Housing Market

Who isn't worried about the value of their home in this market? Numerous articles have been written about whether we're in the midst of a housing bubble and when the housing boom will end. The tone is reminiscent of...
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Is a House a Good Investment? - Is Now a Good Time to Make an Investment

Whether it is a penthouse in New York City, a beach house in Corolla, NC or a farmhouse in central Virginia, owning your own home is a significant part of the American Dream. Yet the financial reality is that a home is...
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Avoid Becoming House Poor

Being house poor has little to do with the value of your home. You could live in a palatial estate worth $4 million, and you'd still be considered house poor if your home absorbs a disproportionate share of your income....
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Is an Interest-Only Mortgage Right for You?

Although interest-only mortgages have existed for many years, they have increased in popularity recently. With home prices continuing to rise and interest rates still at low levels, an interest-only mortgage allows...
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Your Home as a Source of Income in Retirement

If you're concerned that you may not be able to live comfortably on your retirement income, or if you'd simply like to improve your retirement lifestyle, you might want to take a fresh look at your home. In addition to being...
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This Is Not Your Grandmother's Real Estate Market

The U.S. housing market continues to roar, prompting increasingly ominous media reports of a housing 'bubble.' A national bubble remains unlikely, but there are increasing indications that prices in some prime markets -...
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All Mortgages are Not Created Equal

Five common, yet avoidable, mistakes made when shopping for a mortgage. Not exploring all your financing options. There are several things to consider before selecting a mortgage, depending on your situation. For...
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New Mortgage Bonanza

The financial institutions have become more and more aggressive at marketing new, hybrid mortgages. Today the ads seem too good to be true, save thousands each month, interest rates at 1 or 2% - if it sounds too good to be...
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Real Estate investments: A Brief Discussion of Investment Real Estate

Can your House be considered "Investment Real Estate"? Many homeowners have often considered their home the best investment they ever made. This perception is fostered more by the long-term holding period of most homes...
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The Mortgage "Pay Off" Dilemma

Quite often, and particularly when approaching retirement, clients pose the question if and when they should pay off their mortgage. The answer to this question not only has critical financial considerations, but later...
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The Institutional 1031 TIC Exchange

Since the 1920's savvy real estate investors have taken advantage of the evolving 1031 exchange rules promulgated by the IRS. Many of you are probably familiar with this concept, if not veterans of the procedure. The ability...
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How to Hold Real Estate In a Self-Directed IRA or Qualified Plan - Part 1

Introduction This article is meant to be an introduction to the topic and not an exhaustive guide. The topic is complicated, and I recommend that anyone interested in pursuing this type of investing seek the advice...
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How to Hold Real Estate In a Self-Directed IRA or Qualified Plan - Part 2

Part II: Using Your IRA For many years now, people have been using non-directly owned real estate in their IRAs and other retirement plans. These intangibles are investments like REITs and real estate mutual funds. But...
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Crackdown Coming On Low Payment Mortgages

According to the Washington Post, The Nation's Housing column, December 10, 2005, much stiffer mortgage regulations beginning in 2006 will significantly rein in much of the fuel that has sent real estate values soaring in...
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Mortgages: The Long or Short of It

Consider Fred and Wilma. They are anxious to become the owners of a prestigious house. Naturally, they are both positively bubbling over with excitement. Wilma, in particular, can barely restrain her enthusiasm for the...
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Mortgages: To Pre- Or Not To Pre-

Homeowners are often faced with the decision whether to prepay their home mortgage. This decision can be significant given the amount of interest that could be paid over 15, 30 years or more. There are several ways to...
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Ruminations on Real Estate

Lately it seems many people have asked us for our opinion on individually-owned real estate as an investment (as opposed to publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), or purchasing a home to live in). This in...
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A real estate bust? Do you believe the hype?

A real estate bust? Do you believe the hype? I think not! Anyone that is affected in any way whatsoever by the real estate market and its changes is familiar with the current media deluge of negative information about...
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Harvesting Home Equity

If you had enough money to pay off your mortgage right now, would you? I suspect most of you would do so without question. Isn't that the so called 'American Dream'? Why then do some of the most financially successful people...
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House Rich, Cash Poor

People over 65 control a significant portion of the wealth in this country, but much of their wealth is concentrated in the equity in their homes. If Social Security benefits are excluded, just under half of all senior...
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Is There a Real Estate Bubble?

Suggesting that real estate is or is not currently a good investment is fools errand. Much has been written already about a possible real estate bubble yet clients are asking about the White Oaks view on the issuer...
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The Costs and Benefits of Purchasing a Second Home

A vacation home can provide a welcome escape for you and your family, but it's wise to examine the financial viability of the investment before you buy Many people reach a point in life where they consider purchasing a...
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Should You Prioritize Saving for Retirement or Pay off Debt?

By Paula Pant January 13, 2014 You have debt. You also hope to retire someday. But those two goals seem to be at odds with one another. After all, saving for retirement and paying off your debt both require money -- and...
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Pros and Cons of getting a FHA Mortgage

By Paula Pant January 17, 2014 Don't let it get away! Keep track of the stocks that matter to you. Thinking about buying a home? The mortgage you select will make a tremendous impact on your long-term...
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Mortgage Fundamentals

Buying a home is the single largest purchase most people will ever make and, with interest rates at or near historic lows, first-time homebuyers are seeking out opportunities in record numbers. For newcomers, the financing...
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First-Time Homebuyers: How Much Do You Really Need to Save?

SUMMARY: Saving for a new home can seem like an insurmountable challenge, especially for first-time buyers. But what kind of numbers really come into play? We look at down payments, mortgage insurance, closing costs, and...
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