The Wall Street Journal examines the latest American Express Spending and Saving Tracker survey, which found that only 10 percent of Americans are planning to move this year. Instead of looking for a new home, people are choosing to improve their current residence.
Most people plan indoor changes, with a new coat of paint the most popular item. Nearly 25% of those polled plan some outdoor landscape work. In what might be bad news for handymen, more than 70% of respondents are taking the do-it-yourself route, up from 64% a year ago. Even wealthier respondents — defined as households with an annual income of at least $100,000 — are pinching pennies: Less than one-in-five will hire a contractor, down from the prior year.
Have you had a low appraisal ruin a deal? You're not alone. CNN Money reports on how low-ball appraisals are ruining home transactions throughout the country. The article also offers a little advice on how to work around this occurrence.
Another path buyers can take after a bad appraisal is to renegotiate the home's sale price. Katie and Dave Dowling found a townhouse in Roxbury, N.J. The pair, who are teachers, liked the place better than other units in the complex. "It came with a lot of upgrades," said Katie. "It was just nicer." Unfortunately, the appraiser didn't take notice of better cabinets and appliances or other features. He appraised the home 3% lower than they needed. Their solution was to ask the sellers to come down. They consented to a 2% haircut and the Dowlings came up with the other 1% themselves.
This WSJ blog gives a good description of the mortgage write down programs and where they're being given. It describes the difference between the write down and the forbearance that the government agencies are using.
Look out for online scams on your listings. This article shows how some agents are having their listings reposted as rentals online.
We first wrote about this problem about two years ago. A man who was trying to sell his late mother's house started getting calls from people wanting to rent it. They'd seen the rental listing on Craigslist. It turns out someone had lifted a real estate agent's online ad for the house and republished it on Craigslist, offering to rent the home. The tale was that the owner was a missionary who was now in England. He would send the house keys to the first person who wired him a deposit and rent.