Homes Are More Affordable Than 20 Years Ago

Daily Real Estate News | Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Homes are actually more affordable now than they were in the late 1990s, according to the latest Mortgage Monitor Report by Black Knight Inc., a mortgage data and performance information provider.

Interest rates have plunged by 40 basis points over the past six months. However, the bulk of the potential savings is offset by the accelerating rate of home price appreciation across the country.

“Rising home prices continue to offset the majority of would-be savings from recent interest rate declines, which has kept affordability near a postrecession low,” says Ben Graboske, executive vice president of data & analytics for Black Knight. “That being said, when viewing the market through a longer-term lens, affordability across most of the country still remains favorable to long-term benchmarks.”

As of September, 21.4 percent of the median income nationwide was required to purchase a median-priced home. From 1995 to 1999, that percentage was 24.2 percent, and from 2000 to 2003 it was 26.2 percent, according to Black Knight’s report.

While the monthly payment needed for a median-priced home is up $100 from a year ago, the national “payment-to-income” ratio remains 2.8 percent below averages from the late 1990s, according to the report.

“In looking at the affordability landscape across the country, we certainly see varying levels of affordability in each market compared to their own long-term benchmarks,” Graboske says. “But, by and large, the overall theme is that affordability in most areas, while tightening, remains favorable to long-term norms.”

Black Knight researchers note that 47 of 50 states’ payment-to-income ratios remain below their 1995–2003 averages. Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., are the lone exceptions, where payment-to-income ratios are higher today than their long-term benchmarks.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”


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5 Horrors at Home Showings

Daily Real Estate News | Tuesday, October 31, 2017

From the artwork to the odor, your listing may be inadvertently giving buyers the creeps.® recently interviewed real estate professionals about the items that have scared off their buyers the most during showings. Here are the top five spooks.

  1. Doors with too many locks. If the doors have more than the standard two locks, your buyer may wonder if something happened on the premises to make the seller feel unsafe, says Glenn Phillips, CEO of Lake Homes Realty in Birmingham, Ala. “Given a choice, most people won’t buy in places they think are unsafe,” he says.
  2. Taxidermy. A single deer head may pass muster in some areas, but taxidermy runs the risk of making some buyers uncomfortable. “One house I helped stage had a stuffed bighorn sheep in the dining room and a stuffed bear in the family room,” says Amy Bly of Great Impressions Home Staging/Interiors in Montville, N.J.
  3. Questionable art choices. Any artwork displayed should be neutral and carry no risk of offending or confusing potential buyers. Jeff Miller, cofounder of AE Home Group in Baltimore, recalls a seller who was obsessed with feet and displayed framed paintings and sculptures of feet—and even keychains with feet on them. “I told the seller to get their feet out of the picture,” Miller says.
  4. Obvious DIY repairs. Amateur repair work that’s left half done can prove to be a big turnoff to buyers. “I once encountered a little house of horrors that actually had caution tape across a very outdated bathroom with a hole in the floor,” Bly told®. The home also had “dark rooms with lights that didn’t work, as well as nonfunctioning appliances in the kitchen.”
  5. Odd smells. Pet odors, mold, or musty smells can also give buyers the creeps. “Almost every home has a unique smell, and the owners rarely realize it,” says Jerry Koller, a sales associate with International Home Realty in Irvine, Calif. “Of course, it’s smart to try remedies such as Febreze or candles. But sometimes, you just need to replace carpet before putting your house on the market.”

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”


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2017 Holiday Events

Drummers & Dancer

November 16
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Reach Museum, 1943 Columbia Park Trail


Drummers and dancers from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla), will perform a variety of social dances. Included are the War dance, Round dance, and many more!

Admission Adults: $8 Students/Seniors: $6 Kids under 5:

Free for REACH Members…


“Make a Difference” Craft Bazaar

Nov. 18, 2017
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Calvary Chapel | Kennewick, WA
(509) 736-2086

Event Details

Help make a difference for local youth and attend the November 18th “Make A Difference” Craft Bazaar at Calvary Chapel Tri-Cities. Shop homemade gifts, decor and furniture from 70+ vendors and select direct sale merchants from 8 am – 4 pm. Event proceeds go toward local youth outreaches of Calvary Chapel Tri-Cities.

Affinity Bazzar

Saturday, November 18
10 AM – 3 PM
Affinity at Southridge, Kennewick

Come check out all the amazing crafts, jewelry, and fun things. Silent Auction with all Proceeds going to Safe Harbor.

Marcus Whitman Winter Bazaar

Saturday, November 18
9 AM – 3 PM
Marcus Whitman Elementary, Richland

Join us at our annual bazaar supporting our PTO and other programs at Marcus!

With over 50 local artisans sharing their wares, you are sure to find something for everyone on your list! Jewelry, home décor, handmade crafts, bake sale, and silent auction.

Lunch again will be available to purchase from Between The Buns! New this year- Barracuda Coffee will also serving up your favorites to keep you warm while you do your holiday shopping!

Lewis and Clark 2017 Holiday Bazaar

Saturday, November 18
9 AM – 3 PM
Lewis and Clark Elementary, Richland

Join us at our annual bazaar supporting our PTA and our school!

The first 50 FAMILIES into our bazaar will also get a goody bag filled with samples and other goodies that we have gotten donated from local companies 🙂


Featuring over 60 local crafters that will give you the opportunity to find something on your list for everyone! Jewelry, home décor, handmade crafts, bake sale to support 5th grade OMSI trip, and silent auction with some AMAZING prizes!

Holiday Bazaar & Bake Sale

West Richland Area Chamber of Commerce Holiday Bazaar

Nov 19th, Dec 3rd, Dec 10th
11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Sandberg Event Center – 331 S 41st, West Richland

No cost to attend!

Donations of nonperishable canned goods, new toys, new or gently used clothing for Holiday Families in need will be accepted and appreciated!

Toyota Center 2017 Broadway Theatre – Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

Nov. 19, 2017
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Toyota Center | Kennewick, WA
(509) 737-3327

Event Details

This is the 33rd year that the award winning group has toured with its classic Christmas concert, and it has become a tradition for many families.

Water2Wine Thanksgiving Eve Family Dinner Cruise

 Nov. 22, 2017
5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Columbia Point Marina | Richland, WA
(509) 263-1965

Event Details

Thanksgiving Eve on the water! Leave the cooking , cleaning, and decorating to us and enjoy more quality time together with loved ones.

Beaver Bark’s Santa Express

Santa’s Hours:
Nov. 24th, 25th, 26th: 11am-5pm
Dec 1-21st:
Weekdays: 3pm-7pm
Saturdays: 10am-7pm
Sundays: 11am-6pm
Dec 22nd & 23rd: 9am-7pm
Christmas Eve: 9am-3pm
Beaver Bark, Richland


36th Annual Holiday Bazaar

November 25th
9:00 AM – 3:00 PMColumbia Valley Grange #938 – 6300 W. Court St, Pasco

Event Details:

Join us for handmade craft vendors in our new booth layout with larger spaces!! Lunch will also be available. Bazaar is sponsored by Columbia Valley Jr. Grange.

2nd Annual Winter Wonderland

Dec. 1, 2017 – Dec. 2, 2017
9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
John Dam Plaza & Howard Amon Park | Richland, WA
City of Richland Parks & Rec Department
(509) 942-7529

Event Details

All activities are FREE!

Richland Community Center

8:00 am – 9:00 pm:   

Model Railroad

HAPO Community Stage & John Dam Plaza 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm:

Holiday Performances

Santa Claus

Warming Fire

Countdown to tree lighting

Hot cocoa & kettle corn

J & S Dreamland Express Train

Howard Amon Park 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Santa Claus @ the Santa House

Food Vendors

Lighted Boat Parade

Warming Fire

December 2 Richland Community Center 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Model Train Railroad (9:00 am – 9:00 pm)

Arts & Crafts

Bingo Caroling

Howard Amon Park 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Santa Claus @ the Santa House

Lighted Boat Parade

Food Vendors

Warming Fire

Lighted Boat Parade

Dec. 1-2, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Cable Bridge to Howard Amon

Event Details:

The parade starts each night at 6pm under the Cable Bridge at Clover Island.  We travel up river on the Kennewick side along Columbia Park.  At around 7:30pm, we turn around at the far end of Howard Amon Park in Richland and travel back down river on the same course.  We arrive back at Clover Island and make an additional loop for everyone on the island before we head back into the Clover Island Marina at around 9pm.


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When to Drop Your Listing Price

Daily Real Estate News | Monday, October 30, 2017

Though low inventory is prompting buyers to raise their offers in order to beat out competitors, you still want your sellers to know: an overpriced listing will linger on the market. Buyers pay attention to time on market and may erroneously assume something is wrong with a property that has gone “stale.” Real estate pros say it’s critical to determine what time frame is considered stale in your market and drop the price of your listing before getting to that pivotal moment.

“I typically drop the price after the second week on the market, usually in $5,000 to $10,000 increments,” says Laura Barnett, CRS, GRI, a sales associate with RE/MAX DFW Associates in Coppell, Texas. “But I may be more aggressive than most.” Price cuts in the hot Dallas-area market, where Barnett works, haven’t been common lately, she says. But “there is a strange change that is in the air, and sellers are starting to have to become more humble. I would not say it is a buyer’s market, but a new balance between buyers and sellers has been hitting us since August.”

Soaring home prices may make buyers pause, but houses are still selling fast. Nationwide, the average time a home spent on the market was 34 days in September, down from 39 days a year prior, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Some sellers may be adamant about “testing the market” with a high asking price, so you should have a game plan for what to do if it backfires. “I don’t believe in testing the market, but if we enter the market [with a list price] pushing the top of the range, we can easily gauge response within seven to 10 days,” says Dana Rice, a sales associate with Compass in Washington, D.C. “It’s almost a certainty that if we don’t get an offer within that first 10-day period, then we’ve missed the mark.”

Rice says she’s seen sellers do a rapid price adjustment that can then result in a quicker sale. You can “bring those same buyers back—the ones who liked the property in the first place and who will view the price adjustment as ‘the seller is listening to me,’” she says.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”


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What Home Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Daily Real Estate News | Friday, October 27, 2017

A home insurance policy won’t cover every thing that could possibly go wrong with a home. The details are all in the fine print within the policy.

“Insurance policies are like snowflakes; no two are exactly the same,” Ashleigh Cloud Trent, an insurance adviser with Swingle Collins and Associates in Dallas, told®.

Many standard policies do not include a few things that homeowners may assume they cover. Homeowners may need to investigate supplemental coverage. Here are a few common things that aren’t covered by homeowners insurance:

Home renovations

Homeowners will need to take out a specific renovation policy if they’re doing major work to their home. A renovation policy will cover potential liability issues, such as if someone gets hurt on your property during the remodel. “It’s OK if you’re just doing cosmetic updates; but if you’re taking the roof off, that’s more than a standard homeowners policy is designed to protect,” says Trent.

Earthquakes and floods

Homeowners will need to get earthquake insurance if they want to be protected. Standard homeowner coverage isn’t usually protective from damage in earthquakes, leaving you paying for repairs. Floods aren’t often covered in standard insurance policies either and require supplemental insurance.

Slow water leaks

Damage from “seepage and leakage” can also be denied for coverage. Water damage usually has to be “sudden and accidental” to be covered, Trent says. Trent offers up one example: “A client whose contractor nicked a pipe behind a wall. The pipe was connected to a seldom-used guest bathroom, so nobody noticed the leak. When they rented out the home years later, the tenants called a few months later to report that the floorboards were warping.” The damage was $25,000, and the homeowners insurance wouldn’t pay any of it.

Smell damage

Most policies won’t cover smells that linger around your home and possessions. “We had a client in the process of renovating a home who put all of their belongings in a storage unit that happened to be right next to a restaurant,” says Trent. “When he went to get his things back, all his possessions, including his mattress, permanently smelled like curry.”

Sewer and drain backups

Homeowners may also be stuck with the bill if their sewer backs up into their home. “In a lot of places, when there’s serious rain, the sewers and drains can back up into people’s homes,” says Trent. “Not all policies will cover that.”

View more problems that standard homeowner insurance policies don’t typically cover at®.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”


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Existing-Home Sales Inch 0.7 Percent Higher in September

WASHINGTON (October 20, 2017) — After three straight monthly declines, existing-home sales slightly reversed course in September, but ongoing supply shortages and recent hurricanes muted overall activity and caused sales to fall back on an annual basis, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales1,, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in September from 5.35 million in August. Last month’s sales pace is 1.5 percent below a year ago and is the second slowest over the past year (behind August).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says closings mustered a meager gain in September, but declined on an annual basis for the first time in over a year (July 2016; 2.2 percent). “Home sales in recent months remain at their lowest level of the year and are unable to break through, despite considerable buyer interest in most parts of the country,” he said. “Realtors® this fall continue to say the primary impediments stifling sales growth are the same as they have been all year: not enough listings – especially at the lower end of the market – and fast-rising prices that are straining the budgets of prospective buyers.”

Added Yun, “Sales activity likely would have been somewhat stronger if not for the fact that parts of Texas and South Florida – hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma – saw temporary, but notable declines.”

The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in September was $245,100, up 4.2 percent from September 2016 ($235,200). September’s price increase marks the 67th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory3 at the end of September rose 1.6 percent to 1.90 million existing homes available for sale, but still remains 6.4 percent lower than a year ago (2.03 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 28 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.5 months a year ago.

“A continuation of last month’s alleviating price growth, which was the slowest since last December (4.5 percent), would improve affordability conditions and be good news for the would-be buyers who have been held back by higher prices this year,” said Yun.

First-time buyers were 29 percent of sales in September, which is down from 31 percent in August, 34 percent a year ago and matches the lowest share since September 2015. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellersreleased in late 20164 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage dipped to 3.81 percent in September from 3.88 percent in August and is the lowest since November 2016 (3.77 percent). The average commitment rate for all of 2016 was 3.65 percent.

Nearly two-thirds of renters currently believe now is a good time to buy a home, but weakening affordability and few choices in their price range have made it really difficult for more aspiring first-time buyers to reach the market,” said Yun.

President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California, says Congress should keep in mind the barriers affecting prospective first-time buyers as they move forward with tax reform in the coming months.

“There’s no way around the fact that any proposal that marginalizes the mortgage interest deduction and eliminates state and local tax deductions essentially disincentives homeownership and is a potential tax hike on millions of middle-class homeowners,” said Brown. “Reforming the tax code is a worthy goal, but it should not lead to the middle class, who primarily build wealth through owning a home, footing the bill. Instead, Congress should be looking at ways to ensure more creditworthy prospective buyers are able to achieve homeownership and enjoy its personal and wealth-building benefits.”

Properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in September, which is up from 30 days in August but down from 39 days a year ago. Forty-eight percent of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.

Inventory data from® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in September were San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., 30 days; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., 32 days; Salt Lake City, Utah, 35 days; and Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., and Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., both at 36 days.

All-cash sales were 20 percent of transactions in September, unchanged from August and down from 21 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in September (unchanged from last month and a year ago).

Distressed sales5 – foreclosures and short sales – were 4 percent of sales in September, unchanged from last month and a year ago. Three percent of September sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales climbed 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.79 million in September from 4.74 million in August, but are still 1.2 percent under the 4.85 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $246,800 in September, up 4.2 percent from September 2016.

Existing condominium and co-op sales decreased 1.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 600,000 units in September, and are now 3.2 percent below a year ago. The median existing condo price was $231,300 in September, which is 4.1 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

September existing-home sales in the Northeast were at an annual rate of 720,000 (unchanged from August), and are now 1.4 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $274,100, which is 4.8 percent above September 2016.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.30 million in September, but are 1.5 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $195,800, up 5.4 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South slipped 0.9 percent to an annual rate of 2.13 million in September, and are now 2.3 percent lower than a year ago. The median price in the South was $215,100, up 4.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West increased 3.3 percent to an annual rate of 1.24 million in September (unchanged from a year ago). The median price in the West was $362,700, up 5.0 percent from September 2016.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

NOTE: For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services. Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

1Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90 percent of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40 percent of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

2The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

3Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90 percent of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

4Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

5Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”


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Study: Your Listing’s Words Carry Weight

Daily Real Estate News | Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A new study finds that properties that contain certain words in their listing comments tend to sell for higher prices.

CoreLogic researchers analyzed more than 1 million single-family transactions that closed in the first half of 2017. Every property analyzed had public remarks and comments from which researchers extracted word pairs. Prices can vary geographically on how much weight certain words may have.

But one house feature that stood out was “pane windows,” which could represent dual-pane windows or energy-efficient windows, CoreLogic researchers found. The use of “pane windows” in listing comments tended to equate to higher home prices, researchers found. Other words that tended to carry the most weight are “new construction,” “remodeled kitchen,” and several paint references, whether for the interior or exterior.

The following words were found to have a positive impact on the closing price, according to CoreLogic researchers:

  • Pane windows
  • New construction
  • Remodeled kitchen
  • Single-level
  • Outdoor living
  • Exterior paint
  • Fully fenced
  • RV parking
  • In the kitchen: granite, range, oven
  • Updated kitchen
  • Quiet street
  • Interior paint
  • Light, bright
  • Hardwood floors
  • Award-winning
  • Gas fireplace
  • Natural light
  • Fruit trees
  • New paint
  • Stainless appliances
  • Gas range
  • Front yard
  • Walking distance (note: the appropriateness of this term is up for debate)
  • Fireplace
  • Fully fenced
  • Large backyard
  • Easy access
  • Vaulted ceilings
  • Perfect for entertaining

“Anyone selling a home that has any of the features listed … should make sure to ask their listing agent to include these words and phrases in the public comments,” CoreLogic notes at its Insights blog. “

Source: “Public Listing Comments Can Have an Impact on Closing Price,” CoreLogic Insights Blog (Oct. 13, 2017)

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”


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How Big a Gamble is a Condemned Home?

Daily Real Estate News | Wednesday, October 11, 2017

It could be the deal of a lifetime or your client’s worst nightmare. But just because a house has been condemned doesn’t mean it can’t be a fit for buyers who don’t mind a little risk.

First off, it’s important to understand the definition. A condemned property is simply one that the government has taken over from a private owner, according to Desare Kohn-Laski, broker and owner of Skye Louis Realty in Coconut Creek, Fla. This can happen for a number of reasons: if the home has stood vacant (typically for more than 60 days), utilities have been discontinued, or an inspector discovers specific hazards. “You certainly can buy it. In some cases, you may need to tear down an existing structure and start over. In others, you can make changes to the property that are in compliance with the city’s codes, thus ‘lifting’ its condemned status,” she says.

Condemned homes often sell for little more than the value of the land, which may amount to just a few thousand dollars. That means your clients may be able to rehab the house and then increase its value significantly.

But these transactions may take more time to navigate, since you usually must work with a bank or the government to purchase a condemned property. Buyers will need to know what or if any violations or liens are attached to the property’s title.

Financing can be a hang-up for some buyers looking to go this route. “Most traditional lenders only lend based on the condition of the property as it currently exists,” Christy Murdock Edgar, a real estate practitioner in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., told®. “There may be many costs associated with rehabbing a condemned property that aren’t covered by the lending process.”

Buyers may need to consult a private lender to structure a loan based on the property after rehabbing it so they can combine demo and construction costs into one lump sum. Or, buyers can set up a short-term loan if the intent is to flip the property.

Certainly there are plenty of risks purchasing a condemned home, and it’s possible the cost of restoring the home could be higher than the value of the house itself. “If it was due to severe structural or repair issues, you might end up losing a lot of the value in the cost of rehabbing the property itself,” Edgar says.

Source: “Buying a Condemned House: Risks and Rewards for Bargain-Seeking Buyers,”® (Oct. 9, 2017)

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”


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6 Tasks That Every Smart Homeowner Does in October

The temps are starting to drop; the smell of wood smoke is in the air.

Temps are more chilly than warm. That’s when veteran homeowners know it’s time to do these six things if they want to avoid grief or overspending:

#1 Buy Appliances

But October is right in the middle — when there’s still plenty of selection, and retailers might be more willing to haggle.

Refrigerators are the exception because new models don’t come out until spring.

#2 Switch the Direction of Ceiling Fans

#3 Clean Windows

If window cleaning isn’t a DIY job at your home, schedule a professional window cleaner (who, unlike most of us, is able to do it even when temperatures plummet) before the end of the month. The closer it gets to the holidays, the busier they get. Bright sunshine on winter’s darkest days makes it totally worthwhile.

#4 Schedule a Heating Unit Checkup

Whether you hire your heating company’s technician or a contractor to do it, they’ll clean soot and corrosion from the combustion chamber, replace filters, and check the whole system for leaks, clogs, or damage. Nothing pairs with a pending blizzard better than the assurance that you’ll be weathering the storm with warm air piping through the vents and cocoa in hand.

#5 Get a Chimney Sweep to Inspect the Fireplace

Tip: If you don’t already have a chimney cap, this is also the time to add one to stop wild outdoor critters from crawling down it — and (yikes!) into your house.

#6 Insulate Exposed Pipes

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