Thursday, March 29th, 2012

February pending sales up 9.2% from year ago

By Inman News

The National Association of Realtors is predicting existing-home sales will jump 7 to 10 percent in 2012 to the highest level in five years, based on an “uneven but higher sales pattern” so far this year.

Pending home sales fell a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent from January to February, which was up 9.2 percent from the same time a year ago, NAR said today in releasing its latest Pending Home Sales Index.

Last week, NAR reported a similar trend for existing-home sales, which were down 0.9 percent from January to February, but up 8.8 percent from a year ago.

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Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Over the past several years, millions of homeowners have had billions of dollars in mortgage debt forgiven, either through foreclosure, refinancing or short sales. It’s important for real estate professionals and homeowners to understand that mortgage debt forgiveness has significant tax consequences.

Here are 10 things the Internal Revenue Service says you should know about mortgage debt forgiveness:

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Thursday, March 29th, 2012

By Tara-Nicholle Nelson

If you sat down and tried to call up a mental picture of a smart home buyer, the person in your mind’s eye might be sitting in front of the computer, calculator at hand, running numbers and weighing out pros and cons before arriving at a sensible decision. But ask any agent: even the smartest of their buyer clients looks and feels nothing like this image. Once the house hunt begins or the offer is signed, emotions start to fray, tensions run high and stress-induced gray hairs begin to multiply (and/or get pulled out).

Your home is the largest purchase you’ll ever make. So it might seem that emotional side effects like panic and fear are inevitable. But they’re not. You do have the power to manage your emotions and have a relatively blissed-out homebuying experience. And you should seize that power; doing so will not only minimize the discomfort, it will also keep panic and fear from fouling up your decision-making.

Let me hand you some keys – the keys to having a Zen home buying experience:

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Thursday, March 29th, 2012

By Tara-Nicholle Nelson

We humans have a natural craving to simplify the complex. This same instinct, which explainswhy legends, films and fairytales from every culture tend to boil down to heroes vs. villains, also explains why so many buyers and sellers desperately seek rules of thumb for making the often scary, rarely simple decisions they face.

Reality check: your real estate transaction is not a children’s story. Grown-up life is complicated, as are money matters and relationships. Since real estate involves all three (being a grown up, money and relationships), smart buyers and sellers should cast a suspicious eye at super simple real estate rules of thumb.
Let’s take a handful of the most persistent ones head on, and decipher which of them are fact, and which are fiction.

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Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Spring cleaning can be so cathartic

By Veronique Kipen

Make it easy on yourself and cart your cleaning supplies in a caddy, like this pail.

In the beginning, there was dirt. Lots of it. From the layer of black ash put out by coal-fired heaters to the sooty grime of gas and kerosene lamps, for turn-of-the-century housekeepers, spring cleaning was a necessity. A hundred years later, we’re free to choose. The urge to clean house when the days turn balmy springs as much from the soul as the grime.

“Spring cleaning is cathartic,” says Maggie Bright of Mackerel Sky Design in Malibu, Calif. “It frees you up from those jobs you’ve left undone that have been hanging over your head for months.”

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