Mortgage Companies Are Antsy for People to Buy Again. Look Who’s Covering Appraisal Costs.

United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), a major lending company, is now offering free appraisals for some borrowers.

The perk is part of an oh-so-tempting 1-0 temporary rate buydown package, available to local mortgage consultants itching to help buyers break through the current housing standstill.

“So,” you ask… “What is a 1-0 buydown mortgage?” Successful loan applicants can hack 1% off whatever interest rate they locked in. They keep that discount for the first year of the loan. So, whatever the current rate is, cut that by 1%. If the rate is 8%, the borrower only pays 7%. After that first year, the regular rate kicks in.

UWM is putting some icing on the cake. It’s promising to pick up the tab for up to $600 in appraisal fees. Conventional and government-backed home loans can qualify. And the whole deal is good through March 31, 2024.

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Does the TikTok Mortgage Hack Work?

Unless they’re lucky enough to assume someone else’s mortgage, current buyers are paying interest rates near 8%.

The media will report on this in all kinds of ways, because people want information and they want workarounds. But sometimes, in this click-driven media world, what’s packaged as news is really a distraction.

Let’s take a look at one of the latest things reporters have jumped on. It’s a TikTok account that posted a “hack” by which home buyers could cut their high mortgage rates for items they’ve wanted — like new cars or vacations.

Don’t believe it.

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Fair Appraisals Matter—To the White House, and to Us

Have you heard about PAVE? Most people haven’t. It stands for Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity.

When it comes to homeownership, fair appraisals are not just a matter of numbers—they’re a cornerstone of equity and financial prosperity. Enter PAVE. This initiative, championed by the White House, is more than just an acronym; it’s a pivotal step towards addressing long-standing biases in home valuations that disproportionately affect Black and Brown communities. While many are still unaware of PAVE, its impact could reshape the landscape of real estate fairness. Two years since its introduction by the Interagency Task Force, it’s crucial to examine the progress and understand why fair home appraisals are not just beneficial but essential for a more equitable society.

Why? We believe fair home appraisals can help promote good selling and buying experiences for more people. In short, PAVE is good for deed holders, good for title transactions, and helpful for ensuring fairness when deeds change hands.

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Investment Opportunities to Promote Affordable Mortgages: Ginnie Mae Introduces Social Bonds

Hopeful home buyers, take heart. Investors in stocks and bonds, take note. Ginnie Mae has launched Social Bonds.

Ginnie Mae has published new information for investors pointing to the “significant social impact” of its bonds, as they back mortgage funding for home buyers in historically underserved communities. Its new updates should attract attention, and further boost first-time homebuyers’ access to funding.

OK, but wait… Who is Ginnie Mae? And what’s its connection to home mortgage affordability? Let’s break this down.

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If, Why, and How to Donate Real Estate to a Cause

Charity Begins at Home

Wondering how to donate a house?

Charitable donations can keep supporting your causes long after your lifetime. Gifts of land, homes, or easements make a lasting mark.

Of course, there are various reasons for real estate donations. Some donors are less interested in the cause than they are in offloading an investment property, or in getting out of the responsibility for an inherited home.

In any case, a gift deed can be used to donate to a non-profit organization or charity. Before committing to the decision, it’s important to know how to spot some key issues.

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Again, the White House Encourages Homeowners to Sell, and Renters to Buy. Is This Helping Anyone?

“For millions of Americans homeownership is a foundation for so many parts of their lives,” says the White House. “And for many it is also their primary source of wealth.” With this statement, the Biden administration has announced new actions to support homeownership.

Last year, the administration called its Housing Supply Action Plan “the most comprehensive all-of-government effort to close the housing supply shortfall in history.” An effort, yes. But is “all” the government in?

A year since the White House announced that plan, the typical listed home is now a luxury that most people can’t afford. We want to see real movement to increase homeownership — and, of course, that means more deeds. So we’re watching what the administration is doing. Here’s what we know.

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The “Post-MLS” Market: Is Being Your Own Agent the Future of Real Estate?

Some hopeful home buyers don’t want an agent. “Why, in the age of online marketplaces and bank apps,” they might ask…

“Can’t I find a home myself and make a deal with the owner?”

Some write to owners, asking who wants to sell person-to-person — no agents. No bidding wars. No agent commissions.

“And why not?” a seller asks. “Why should I list my home with the MLS (multiple listing service) gatekeeper? I’m not up to the task of putting my home on the market, but I would sell if the price were right!”

Where there’s a will, there’s an app — and a company called Galleon is seizing the moment.

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REALTORS® Reel From Burnett v. NAR Verdict

Bombshell Verdict Promises to Transform Home Sale Deals

At the end of October, a federal jury in Kansas City found some of the largest U.S. real estate players liable for inflating agent commissions. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and several large brokerages colluded to set commissions, the jury found. The verdict in the Sitzer/Burnett commission case says the defendants “conspired to require home sellers to pay the broker representing the buyer of their homes in violation of federal antitrust law.” Ouch.

Most U.S. homes are bought and sold, with commissions built in, through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which distributes home listings to popular real estate sites.

But now, a jury has told NAR, Keller Williams, and Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices of America to pay $1.78 billion in damages to many Midwestern home sellers — named plaintiffs who objected to the commissions.

The case could radically change U.S. home buying.

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