Today’s Real Estate News and Advice

Mortgage Surprise? What Surprise?
Many people on Wall Street and in the lending community seem “surprised” by the unpleasant changes now taking place in the mortgage marketplace. But columnist Peter G. Miller points out that for several years Realty Times readers have known that such fallout was inevitable. FULL STORY;

Home Equity Management Triggered by DST?
The early arrival of Daylight Savings Time is a reminder of two principles of home equity management: annual maintenance and response to change. PJ Wade shares tips and ideas that also help preserve or build real estate values. FULL STORY;

How Not To Become A Mortgage Fraud Statistic
Buying a home can put you in the Big House and leave you paying much more than the cost of a mortgage if you are taken in by mortgage fraud operators. FULL STORY;

Ask George & Chuck: Questions from Consumers
How can I estimate the value of the land short of a formal appraisal? A well runs dry. Who is at fault? These questions and more in this week’s column. FULL STORY;

Housing Counsel: Refinance or Sell?
“I want to purchase a home that my parent own. Should I ask them to refinance and get the money they want and then just arrange to put the house in my name?” Benny L. Kass answers. FULL STORY;

House Prices Up or Down?
Seemingly contradictory national surveys of house prices have a lot of people scratching their heads lately. Did the median price drop by 3.1 percent on a national basis last year, as NAR reports, or did they rise by 5.9 percent as the federal government says? Ken Harney . FULL STORY;

“Green” Garden Adds Value to Your Home
Spring is in the air, at least in sunny San Diego, California. And that has homeowners thinking about a landscaping makeover. FULL STORY;

Work At Home, Save On Gas, Taxes
Rising gas prices is enough to make you work at home and avoid the growing cost of commuting. If you do, you’ll compound your gas savings with a tax savings. FULL STORY;

Flight to Quality This Week Pushed Mortgage Rates to Lowest Levels This Year
Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.14 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending March 8, 2007, down from last week when it averaged 6.18 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.37 percent. FULL STORY;

Mortgage Solicitation Letters
The old saying is true — A few bad apples spoil the lot. As more and more lenders resort to misleading ad campaigns to generate business, this old mortgage veteran admits he’s ashamed of the direction the mortgage industry has taken. Henry Savage confesses. FULL STORY;

Silicon Valley Prices Jump, But Assessor Lowers Values For Thousands
Silicon Valley’s median home price rose sharply, but the assessor is lowering values on more and more homes and that indicates imbalance in the market. FULL STORY;

How to Handle Low Ball Offers
How do you handle a low-ball offer. They could have written on any other house, but they selected yours. So let’s get busy. FULL STORY;

Ridding the World of Exotic Mortgages
I used to be a big fan of stated loans. I might still be but perhaps I’m just getting tired of getting beat-up on by third-party know-it-alls screaming that lenders are making loans they shouldn’t be making. FULL STORY;

Home Price Appreciation Revealing ‘Historical Norms’
A lagging indicator reveals a national housing market with more normal characteristics as boom towns fade and more affordable markets get robust. FULL STORY;

Don’t Delay Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency should be a long-term goal. Don’t wait till higher utility bills threaten to act. FULL STORY;

Builders Demand Accountability from Canadian Cities
More than 12 per cent of new home costs are for municipal taxes and levies, but “cities engage in practices that would quickly bankrupt any private business,” says the president of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. FULL STORY;

TREB: February Stays Right on Track
Resale housing activity in the month of February was slightly higher than a year ago, Toronto Real Estate Board President Dorothy Mason announced today. A total of 6,772 transactions took place in the month, as compared to 6,756 in February 2006. FULL STORY;

New Subprime Guidelines Open For Comment
The same group of federal agencies that stiffened underwriting on nontraditional mortgages and home equity loans have inked proposed changes for subprime rules. FULL STORY;

Cultivating HOA Committees
While the heavy lifting often falls on the board of directors, committees can help lighten the load by focusing on specific tasks assigned by the board. FULL STORY;

More Real Estate News and Advice…