FHA Loans Are Difficult to Obtain

29-what-is-a-fha-loanMost large banks have curtailed FHA-backed loans in the past two years because of concerns about credit and legal risks.

The rollback among big banks follows harsh penalties meted out by the Justice Department , which accused many banks of putting FHA on the hook for shoddy loans in the years leading up to the mortgage meltdown. Market shares at BB&T, Bank of America, Fifth Third Bancorp, Flagstar Bank, M&T Bank, Regions Financial and Wells Fargo have all declined in the past two years, the data shows. Read more

Gaines: Texas is not in a Housing Bubble

house-for-sale-in-Texas[1]While home prices in several Texas markets are above their historic peaks, the housing market is not in a bubble. According to James Gaines, Chief Economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, the Texas housing market is balanced.

“We don’t think we are in a price bubble, but we are well aware that home prices have been increasing at almost twice their normal annual rate of increase for the last several years,” said Gaines. “When you bring people and jobs, that creates a heavy increase in the demand for housing, rental and owner,” he said.

Gaines anticipates that 2016 and 2017 will bring tougher times to Texas, with the first and second quarters of 2016 being hit particularly hard.

“The demand for housing is still relatively strong, and even if it does fall, it will fall to a more balanced supply. When you have balance of supply and demand, it is long sustainability,” said Gaines.

Faucets for Home Chefs

faucetsHome chefs with commercial-grade appliances can complete the look with restaurant-style kitchen faucets.

These industrial-style fixtures have spouts nearly twice as high as normal faucets to fit tall pots or a large stack of plates underneath. The faucets typically have a detachable sprayer wrapped in a flexible spring coil.

While many homeowners are drawn to the faucets’ industrial-look, some balk at their large size, says Tim Maicher, director of marketing at Blanco, a high-end faucet maker. The early models were so large that “the faucet would swing around like a loose fire hose,” says Mr. Maicher. To remedy this, Blanco and other manufacturers introduced slightly smaller versions, with the option of a hidden coil.

Here are a few different styles for varying budgets: Read more

Jumbo-Loan Market Remains Strong

 Jumbo LoansThe Fed’s threat of a springtime rate increase didn’t come to pass, which fueled the jumbo-mortgage market in the first half of 2015.

The volume of jumbo mortgages-those above $417,000 in most places and $625,500 in some high-price areas-reached an estimated $160 billion in the first six months of 2015, up about 36% from a year ago at the same time, says Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, which covers the industry.

Read more

5 Dirt-Cheap Home Staging Ideas

home stagingGetting ready to sell your home? Appearance is everything. That’s where home staging comes in. But hiring a professional “stager” to prepare the home for prospective buyers can cost anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour. Fortunately, homeowners can take matters into their own hands.

Here are five expert tips for staging your home that cost next to nothing. Read more

Needing a New Paint Color?

Why Green Never Goes Out of Style

Against the browns of the earth, green grasses and trees glitter like gems, reflecting the refractive glints of the sun. Beyond to the blues of the seas, green represents the point of return, to home.

With such a dominant role in nature, green represents youth, growth and ultimately maturity. Green is often chosen as the color of money and signifies wealth and elegance, and in some cultures, it has deeply religious significance.

No wonder green is among the most relaxing and soothing of colors, with the ability to calm and refresh our minds and our souls. Studies show that green helps alleviate depression and anxiety, and promotes harmony and well-being.

Green comes in a rich spectrum of shades and tints, serving well as the main color for any décor, or as an accent to other color schemes. With tones of yellow, green grows sunnier and sharper, and with blue tones, it goes cooler, more alpine. Light greens are youthful and springlike, while deep greens are solid and sophisticated.

Many shades of green can go well together in home decor, just as they do in nature, which makes green a terrific go-to color when you’re not sure what to choose.

Greens are welcome in kitchens and dining rooms, as many of the most popular vegetables like lettuce, limes, and many beans and peas are soft to deep green. Pale greens are calming in bedrooms and work well with blues and whites in bathrooms.

A fresh new look will waken up your senses and set a fun mood!


Ready, Set, Sell!

3 Strategies for Getting Your Home Off the Market Fast

Home For Sale Sign in Front of Beautiful New Home
It’s possible to expedite your home’s sale …
if you’re prepared to face the risks involved.

Most sellers have a specific goal when it comes to their transaction: a quick sale and top dollar. But sometimes fast action doesn’t align with achieving the highest and best value.

There are multiple schools of thought on this subject, and the perspective varies not only with where you are in the country, but also by price point, neighborhood and even down to the block. When it comes to pricing and the search for a quick sale, it’s always best to get help from a local agent. LDSAgents.com has over 3,000 realtors in the US and Canada.

Here are some strategies you can use to get offers fast. Read more

7 Kids – No Debt?

The Gee Family: 7 kids, 7 missions, 7 college graduates and no debt! How did they do it?

When each child was born they received a bank account. They alone were expected to fill it, and they did, from the time they were very young. They did enormous paper routes. The older kids delivered the Salt Lake Tribune in the morning, while the younger kids delivered the afternoon Deseret News. They picked up odd jobs from neighbors and worked concessions at Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley City, Utah. One collected and saved his coins like they were gold doubloons. Read more