October 2013

Found 23 blog entries for October 2013.

houseonmoney__voronin76_450zillow.com - In the spirit of Halloween, here are some easy ways to trick yourself into saving. And you’ll love the treat: more money in your pocket!

Round up your mortgage payments

No doubt, your mortgage payment is likely your biggest household expense. And if you’ve already refinanced or don’t qualify for a refinance, you may feel stuck. But have you considered rounding up your payments? This may seem inconsequential, but every little bit helps, even if it’s just $10 or $50 a month. For example, say you have a monthly mortgage payment of $954.83. If you round up your payments to $1,000 by putting in an extra $45.17, you’ll pay off your debt 29 months early. For further inspiration, run your own numbers using the Zillow Mortgage Calculator.

For

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menhouse_sellingpix_450money.cnn.com - Home prices posted the largest annual gain since housing bubble days in August, although the month-over-month gain slowed for the fourth straight month.

The closely watched S&P/Case-Shiller home price index increased 12.8% from a year earlier, the biggest 12-month gain since February 2006.

But with mortgage rates significantly higher in recent months, the pace of increases is slowing. The 1.3% rise compared to July is only half the monthly increase posted in April when mortgage rates were near a record low.

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houseinhand_voronin_450homes.yahoo.com - Underwater on your mortgage and still haven't refinanced? You may think that you missed the window or are not eligible, but with interest rates still near historic lows and an expanded Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) it may be within your reach.

While it's true that home prices have risen steadily over the past year and a half, approximately 24 percent of American homeowners are still underwater on their mortgages. This is especially true of those living in areas hardest hit by the housing and economic crisis. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) estimates that there are between 1 million and 2 million borrowers eligible for HARP who are underwater are paying above-market interest rates. You could be one of them.

To

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moneyhouse_oleg-doroshin_450homes.yahoo.com - Are you shopping around for home insurance? Make sure you understand the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value coverage - or it could cost you.

When it comes to paying for damage to the possessions in your home, you basically have two home insurance choices: a policy based on either replacement cost coverage or actual cash value coverage.

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Photo:  ©[Oleg Doroshin]/123RF.COM

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blockhouse_denis-yulia-pogostins__450The barn is no longer relegated to your grandfather’s farm or that rustic wedding venue you saw in a magazine. Whether a converted barn or a new construction infused with reclaimed barn materials, post-and-beam details are popping up in homes across the country.

“In general, people want the mix,” said Anita Oates of Raliegh, NC-based interior design firm Otrada LLC. “They’re trying to keep some of the original architectural features — whether stair rails or beadboard — and mix it up with modern elements that might work better, like lighting or plumbing.”

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Photo:  ©[Denis Yulia Pogostins]/123RF.COM

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interest__max5128_450realtor.com - Key fixed-mortgage rates fell to their lowest levels in four months this week, with further declines predicted in the short term.

The federal government’s shutdown and ongoing concerns with the economy’s recovery, particularly the Federal Reserve’s decision to continue its bond-buying stimulus program, were cited as factors in the declines of the key mortgage rates.

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goldhouse_buchachon_450money.cnn.com - The number of available houses in the hottest markets has dropped dramatically over the past year, says the National Association of Realtors: In the Boston area, for one, inventory levels are down 29% vs. 2012. And Denver, Seattle, and San Francisco aren't far behind.

"Some homes are flying off the market in a matter of days," says Paul Bishop, VP of research for NAR.

Shopping in a popular spot? You'll have to go beyond the usual sellers' market tactics, such as getting prequalified for a mortgage. These strategies will help you find homes first, stopping a bidding war before it starts.

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kitchen_primoz_jenko_450homes.yahoo.com - Your cupboards are tired, your countertops are chipped and your appliances were purchased during the Carter administration. There's no doubt your kitchen could use a makeover, but that won't come cheap.

According to the 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, the average upscale kitchen remodel now rings up at $107,406. Even a "mid-range" major kitchen update averages $53,931.

For those who don't have a cool 100 grand to spend on a kitchen redo, there's hope. Here's how kitchen designers from across the country would breathe new life into a tired kitchen with considerably less cash.

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Photo:  ©[Primoz Jenko]/123RF.COM

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livingroom__karammiri_450realestate.msn.com - Most home sellers are eager to garner the highest possible price when they put their home on the market.

 To maximize profits, your home must be in the best possible condition so that buyers compare it favorably to a model home. At the same time, you should minimize the amount of cash you spend.

 A free and essential first step is to pack personal items and eliminate clutter.  1.  Freshen up your Front Door and handles 2.  Make home as brightly lit as possible  3.  Focus on kitchen and bathrooms  4.  Dig in for curb appeal- pull the weeds and add flowers!

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Photo:  ©[Karammiri]/123RF.COM

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moneyhouse_oleg-doroshin_450homes.yahoo.com - If you're looking for a remodeling project that can amp up your curb appeal this fall, replacing your home's siding is a good start.

Replacing your siding is one of the best ways to improve the look of your home, while also providing a protective barrier against the elements.

And according to Remodeling Magazine's 2013 "Cost vs. Value Report," it's also one of the best ways to increase your property's value. And while price and return-on-investment (ROI) will vary depending on the materials and contractor used, the report reveals that homeowners can expect to recoup 72.9 percent of their investment on a vinyl siding replacement job, which costs an average of $11,192. 

Intrigued by this project? If so, you're in luck, because

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