What will make land developments competitive in the years
ahead? Several new concepts are taking shape: a shift to electric vehicles, solar
roofs, technology for home-based productivity, and personal amenities that
support an integrated sense of well-being.
Builders are now choosing internet-connected heating and
cooling. Buyers are touring homes with sensors and voice control technologies
to turn the lights and entertainment systems on and off. And, especially since
the pandemic, we’re seeing in-home fitness equipment that keeps track of our
exercise and health data, allows us to take virtual hikes any place in the
world, and even connects us virtually with live coaches.
Some of the most intriguing innovations involve housing —
and entire developments — becoming energy producers. Let’s take a closer look
at some trendsetters at work.
Continue reading “EHomes, Smart Houses, Solar Housing Communities: What’s Going On?”
July 2021 — Renters have a few weeks to regroup before monthly rent is due as usual after July 31. Congress has approved Covid-19 stimulus payments including $46 billion in rental support. But can the government distribute it fully before time runs out?
Continue reading “U.S. Eviction Moratorium Ends July 31. Payback Time Will Not Be Pleasant”
In 2021, FHA home loans are once again attainable for hundreds
of thousands of young beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
(DACA). Brought to the country as young children, DACA recipients are called Dreamers
because they received temporary conditional residency, Social Security numbers,
and work permission under the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien
Minors (DREAM) Act.
Dreamers have grown up in the United States. They consider
it home. To be DACA-eligible, they’ve studied for a diploma or G.E.D., or
performed military service. Under DACA, they may continue to study and hold
jobs without deportation fears.
Most Dreamers are now in their 20s and 30s — a time in life
when many young adults consider buying houses. And now, many more can.
Continue reading “DACA Beneficiaries (“Dreamers”) Can Now Buy Homes With FHA Loans”
It’s a sign of the coming times. Hawaii’s Senate Bill 474 has
amended the state’s flood hazard disclosure rules for residential real estate.
Disclosures now must include sea level rise exposure, in alignment with hydraulic
and hydrological data from the Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and
Gov. David Ige signed the bill on July 2, 2021. One of the
other bills signed on the same day was House Bill 243, which directs state
agencies to take sea level rise into account in infrastructure plans.
These bills are among the latest steps Hawaii has taken to
meet the goals of its 2050 Sustainability Plan and the capacity of future
generations to thrive.
Continue reading “Breaking Legal News in Hawaii: Home Sellers Must Now Disclose Sea Level Risks”
Thinking of buying a house with your partner? Many unmarried
couples decide to live together, often co-owning their homes. Here are some questions
to consider if you’re thinking of making a similar commitment.
Will One Partner Take Out the Mortgage? Or Will You Be Co-Borrowers?
When unmarried couples apply for a mortgage, the partner
with stronger credit may opt to be the sole buyer. This can lead to the best
possible loan terms and rates.
Alternatively, the couple can apply for a mortgage in both
names and pay it off from a joint bank account. Buying a home together, as co-borrowers,
may seem to strengthen the couple’s borrowing power. Yet it can do the opposite.
A lender will look at the lower of the two credit scores to make approval
Moreover, co-borrowers need to refinance the loan if they
later stop co-owning and put the title into only one of their names. Handling a
home loan jointly can complicate the couple’s future if the relationship
☛ Before applying for your mortgage, get
the facts on credit scores — and how to boost yours.
Continue reading “Issue Spotting: Buying a Home With an Unmarried Partner”
Making a Strong Offer in 3 Strategic Stages
You’re financially ready. You’re excited to be shopping for
your new home. But you’re getting slammed by the competition! Now, how do you make
offers with confidence and get your home purchase goal back on track?
There are three key parts of this home-buying adventure. You
can break them down into:
1. Preparing your finances.
2. Choosing homes you’d like to buy, assessing
their value and appropriate pricing.
3. Negotiating with sellers.
When the going gets tough, a few competitive tips might help
strengthen your hand in each of these three stages. Then we offer a few
lesser-known ideas. What follows is a range of possible strategies to work
with, so you can choose what resonates with you.
Continue reading “Sellers Rejected Your Offers? Get Back on Track to Closing”
In the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, Joe Biden is
looking at tightening up the tax code to move more funding into families and
education. What tax provisions could be changed?
- The 1031 exchange (like-kind exchange) tax-deferrals
for business or rental properties.
- The stepped-up cost basis for heirs after the
- The current estate tax exemption.
Congress would have to approve any changes, so none of these
will be enacted immediately. If and when they are enacted, their bite may be
less than their bark. Let’s take a look.
Continue reading “The 1031 Exchange and Other Real Estate Tax Staples: Will the Biden Administration Make Changes?”
…And the Return of the EB-5 Investor Visa
In the United States, real estate investment opportunities
abound. International real estate buyers can earn profits and bolster the U.S.
economy at the same time. Some people invest from outside the borders. Some investors
hope to live in the United States.
If you wish to invest in U.S. real estate from a distance,
or to learn about mortgages for international buyers, check out our guide for Foreign
Nationals Buying U.S. Real Estate.
If you are thinking of purchasing U.S. real estate and
gaining residence as well, read on. We’ll start with a broad-brush Q&A. Then
we’ll get into the investment visa and the eligibility rules as of 2021.
Continue reading “Immigration for U.S. Real Estate Buyers”
Home values shot up over the past year. Now, in the second
half of 2021, demand remains high. But did you know that condo prices, on
average, have only risen about half as much as single-family homes?
The difference is especially pronounced in some of the major East and West Coast cities, Bankrate.com notes. For a striking example, take San Jose. The price of an average San Jose home has risen 11% year-over-year — while the rise in condo prices is a laid-back 2%.
What explains the extra high demand (and pricing) for houses
over condos? When the pandemic took hold, a wave of buyers headed for suburbia,
seeking extra personal and working space. The work-from-home trend freed many
to leave condos and apartments near their jobs. The newly remote workers could now
buy homes and cabins with space and scenery.
The upshot? Condominiums are available. In many markets,
they are still surprisingly affordable. To boost buyers’ savings further, condo
insurance is cheaper than home insurance. Plus, condos tend to be compact and
insulated by adjacent units, so owners don’t spend so much on heating and air
conditioning. Add in today’s low interest rates. First-time buyers have an
☛ Selling your home
this year? Many buyers continue to work remotely. New
work arrangements are influencing buyer preferences.
Before jumping into condo living, potential buyers might
ask: “What kind of title will I actually get?” Or even: “What will I have to do
as a condo owner?” Let’s take a look.
Continue reading “With Home Prices Soaring, Condos Are a Relative Bargain. Here’s How Their Deeds Work.”
Black-owned homes are regularly low-balled in appraisals.
It’s been happening for generations. Now, the Biden administration is confronting
On June 1, 2021, the president said a new task force will deal
with race-associated disparities in home appraisals. Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge will lead the team as it embarks on a
thorough review of current appraisal methods and outcomes, and as potential
remedies are considered.
The task force will consist of a large group of agencies and
financial groups, encompassing the Federal Reserve, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae,
the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and a host of financial groups. It
will seek information and guidance, too, from civil rights nonprofits as well
as the appraisal industry and its state-based regulators.
Continue reading “The Biden Administration Confronts Racial Bias in Appraisals”