The Neuroscience Behind Choosing a REALTOR®

Commentary by Steve Bunker Real estate clients are unlike any other clients—they’re different from people who need a lawyer, a doctor, or a writer. These people are embarking on perhaps the biggest journey of their lives, and they’re certainly making one of the largest financial decisions they’ll ever make. What happens in a real estate […]

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5 Cs of a Successful Farming Strategy With RPR®

NAR PULSE—Nowhere is there a more streamlined single source of data and reports that fulfill every aspect of a successful farming campaign. From targeting and analyzing the marketability of potential neighborhoods to resources that help you “break the ice” with homeowners, it’s all here with Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®). Get started. Every Child Deserves a […]

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Staying Ahead of the Competition

In the following interview, Gia Arvin, REALTOR® with Matchmaker Realty in Gainesville, Fla., discusses the brokerage’s charitable initiatives, marketing strategies, and more. Region Served: North Central, Fla. Years in Real Estate: 13 Number of Offices: 1 Number of Agents: 17 Best Tip for Getting the Right Listing Price: I take the seller to tour their […]

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Homeowners Continue to Overestimate Value, Except in Hot Markets

Homeowners continue to overestimate the value of their homes, except in hot markets, according to the latest Quicken Loans’ HPPI. Appraised home values came in 1.55 percent below what homeowners expected in July, according to the latest Quicken Loans’ National Home Price Perception Index (HPPI). The latest Quicken Loans National Home Value Index (HVI) shows […]

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Hurricanes could bring another disaster: Foreclosures

by Lydia DePillis   @CNNMoney November 10, 2017: 11:02 AM ET As life slowly returns to normal in hurricane-ravaged parts of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, housing experts and consumer advocates worry another crisis is on the horizon: Foreclosures. Already, legal aid groups are working with people who are struggling to make mortgage payments on homes made uninhabitable by the storms, while paying rent somewhere else. ‘; var storytext = document.getElementById(‘storytext’); var heightToSkip = 0; function resetValues() { totalHeight = 0; targetChildElement = null; } // Check if story is in the blacklist of articles to remove smartassets // [2017.07.27] Results of a one-off request from r.barbieri if(BLACKLIST[location.pathname] === true) { return } if(storytext == null) { console.log(“Error finding storytext element for SA embed”); return; } for ( i = 0; i 0) { heightToSkip -= storytext.childNodes[i].clientHeight; resetValues(); } else if(heightToSkip minHeight && targetChildElement != null) […]

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How to save enough money for a down payment on a home

by Wendy Connick for The Motley Fool   @CNNMoney August 11, 2017: 10:09 AM ET Saving up a down payment to buy your first house can seem a pretty daunting task. If you’ve never had more than a few thousand dollars in the bank at any given time, then setting aside five figures or more may seem impossible. However, getting a down payment together is not as difficult as you may think — if you go about it the right way. ‘; var storytext = document.getElementById(‘storytext’); var heightToSkip = 0; function resetValues() { totalHeight = 0; targetChildElement = null; } // Check if story is in the blacklist of articles to remove smartassets // [2017.07.27] Results of a one-off request from r.barbieri if(BLACKLIST[location.pathname] === true) { return } if(storytext == null) { console.log(“Error finding storytext element for SA embed”); return; } for ( i = 0; […]

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The Neuroscience Behind Choosing a REALTOR®

Commentary by Steve Bunker Real estate clients are unlike any other clients—they’re different from people who need a lawyer, a doctor, or a writer. These people are embarking on perhaps the biggest journey of their lives, and they’re certainly making one of the largest financial decisions they’ll ever make. What happens in a real estate […]

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5 Cs of a Successful Farming Strategy With RPR®

NAR PULSE—Nowhere is there a more streamlined single source of data and reports that fulfill every aspect of a successful farming campaign. From targeting and analyzing the marketability of potential neighborhoods to resources that help you “break the ice” with homeowners, it’s all here with Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®). Get started. Every Child Deserves a […]

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Staying Ahead of the Competition

In the following interview, Gia Arvin, REALTOR® with Matchmaker Realty in Gainesville, Fla., discusses the brokerage’s charitable initiatives, marketing strategies, and more. Region Served: North Central, Fla. Years in Real Estate: 13 Number of Offices: 1 Number of Agents: 17 Best Tip for Getting the Right Listing Price: I take the seller to tour their […]

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Homeowners Continue to Overestimate Value, Except in Hot Markets

Homeowners continue to overestimate the value of their homes, except in hot markets, according to the latest Quicken Loans’ HPPI. Appraised home values came in 1.55 percent below what homeowners expected in July, according to the latest Quicken Loans’ National Home Price Perception Index (HPPI). The latest Quicken Loans National Home Value Index (HVI) shows […]

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Realtor.com Results Summit Zeroes In on Agent Productivity

Realtor.com®’s upcoming annual Results Summit, “Break / Through,” will zero in on agent and team productivity, with more than 50 top sales professionals revealing insights for success. The two-day event takes places Sept. 18-19 at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Register. Breakout sessions at the event cover topics including lead generation and conversion, developing engaging […]

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How to Give Your Bathroom a Tropical Vibe

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com: Great Spaces: Historic Brownstone in Gramercy Park Real Estate Agents: 5 Ways to Create Shareable Content Great Spaces: House of the Rising Sun for Sale Looking to redo your bathroom? Adding a tropical twist is all the […]

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July Jobs Report Signals Riper Conditions for Housing

The U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department recently reported, flouting expectations and signaling riper conditions for the housing market. The unemployment rate retreated to 4.3 percent, a low, and hourly wages on average went up 0.3 percent to $26.36. “[July’s] strong jobs report showed some good news,” says Danielle Hale, chief […]

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Confidence in Housing Sags as Sellers Shy Away

Confidence in housing sagged in July in the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI), with optimism weakening for both homebuyers and sellers due to limiting economic factors and unaffordability. The HPSI overall posted 86.8, down 1.5 percentage points from June, when the Index reached a second all-time high. The share of homebuyers surveyed for […]

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Do Domain Extensions Matter?

In a tech-driven world, it’s more important than ever for professionals in the housing industry to stand out in every way possible. Find out how acquiring a real estate-related domain extension can solidify your brand and help you get ahead of your competition. What is a domain extension? Your website domain extension is everything after […]

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The Power of Empathy in Business and Employee Retention

Empathy is the ability to share the feelings of another and to imagine how you would feel or think in another’s shoes, and it’s vital in establishing personal relationships. Recent studies even indicate its pertinence to our professional relationships in the workplace. This form of empathy, often referred to as “corporate empathy,” is a skill […]

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Education Linked to Homeownership in More Ways Than One

Countless case studies have established a connection between education and homeownership: generally, college graduates are more likely to own a home than non-graduates. A new study out of Trulia now shows that career stage, level of education and location can have varying degrees of influence on homeownership rates. Being college-educated typically boosts earning potential, which […]

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‘Soft’ Credit Checks: Do They Hurt Your Credit Score?

(TNS)—Lenders use your credit score to determine whether you are eligible for a loan and to decide what terms they are prepared to offer. Credit bureaus keep track of when companies check your score, regardless of the outcome, and checks designated as “hard inquiries” may lower your score. Understanding what constitutes a hard check versus […]

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Typical Commercial Agent Now Makes $120,800

Commercial prices continue to head up, at least among smaller properties in secondary and tertiary markets. As a result, the typical commercial agent is making $120,800, an 11 percent increase from the previous year, when the median income was $108,500. The income gains come even as agents on average are doing fewer deals, eight as […]

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Scammers Turn Sights on Realtors®

Realtors® have worked for years to make consumers aware of scams targeting real estate transactions. Now, scammers are turning their attention to Realtors® themselves. A recent alert from the Orlando Regional Realtor® Association warns of fraudulent letters from a fake “Florida Real Estate Board.” The letters threaten a Realtors® status as a licensee, demanding $225 […]

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Putting New Pins on the Map

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Continues to Reach New Markets Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices launched as a network in late 2013—the new home for most Prudential Real Estate franchisees and other brokerages looking for a fresh, distinctive brand. The network has matured nicely in four years, growing to nearly 44,000 agents with a compelling value proposition that continues […]

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Break on Through…to the Broker Side

You’re a top-producing real estate agent, expanding your client roster, surpassing your sales goals and living the good life. But why stop there? For these Engel & Völkers license partners—the company’s term for broker/owners—reaching the pinnacle as a sales associate led to making the decision to become owners and manage their own shop. For many, […]

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Great Spaces: Historic Brownstone in Gramercy Park

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com: Real Estate Agents: 5 Ways to Create Shareable Content Great Spaces: House of the Rising Sun for Sale How to Create Compelling Property Listing Descriptions That Generate Sales For New York City fans, living in a brownstone […]

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Home Builder Confidence in Boomer Market Leaps Forward

Home builder confidence in the single-family 55-plus housing market took a leap forward in the second quarter of 2017, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) recently released 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI). The Index reading for the second quarter was 66, up a solid 11 points from the first quarter. An above-50 […]

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Real Estate Agents: 5 Ways to Create Shareable Content

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com: Great Spaces: House of the Rising Sun for Sale How to Create Compelling Property Listings That Generate Sales Home Safety: Best Places to Put Security Cameras It is reported that every day there are two million new […]

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How to Stay Cool and Save Money

Staying cool can be difficult during uncomfortable summer spikes and dreaded heatwaves. According to fan manufacturer Lasko, an average homeowner spends nearly $2,000 annually on energy bills, with 25 percent of that consumed by air conditioning. By simply turning the A/C thermostat up, and adding fans to any space, consumers can still stay comfortably cool […]

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Sustainability: How NAR Is Responding to Growing Interest

When you hear the term “sustainable real estate,” what topics come to mind? Perhaps your first thoughts are environmentally-friendly properties, or creating walkable communities, or using fewer resources in your real estate practice. Each of these topics, and many more, fall under the umbrella of sustainability. Regardless of how you think about sustainability as a […]

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Commentary: Ready for Tougher Underwriting and to Pay More for Your Mortgage?

There are some new rules coming down the pike for banks that will drastically alter the lending landscape. What are they, and should you care? I’m amazed that there has not been more talk regarding a big change in banking regulation. There are new regulations being phased in that will impact every borrower in a […]

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Study: Dedication Valued Most by Homebuyers and Sellers

Homebuyers and sellers gave real estate professionals who exercised dedication high marks in J.D. Power’s recently released Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study. Satisfaction, the study found, is determined by the amount of time the real estate professional invests in keeping the client informed, and the real estate professional’s responsiveness to client concerns and questions. Homebuyers place […]

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How to Avoid Flying in the Dreaded Middle Seat

(TNS)—Flying in the middle seat is rarely a pleasant experience, but it’s considerably worse when you never saw it coming. While many airlines allow you to select a non-middle seat ahead of time, even that strategy isn’t fool-proof. After all, somebody has to sit in the middle, right? When a flight is overbooked, people are […]

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7 first-time homebuyer mistakes to avoid

by Beth Braverman   @CNNMoney June 28, 2017: 1:23 PM ET It’s tough being a first-time buyer in today’s housing market. Home prices are hitting record highs in many parts of the country, often selling for more than the asking price, and going from list to contract in a record 37 days, according to Redfin. ‘; var storytext = document.getElementById(‘storytext’); var heightToSkip = 0; function resetValues() { totalHeight = 0; targetChildElement = null; } if(storytext == null) { console.log(“Error finding storytext element for SA embed”); return; } for ( i = 0; i 0) { heightToSkip -= storytext.childNodes[i].clientHeight; resetValues(); } else if(heightToSkip minHeight && targetChildElement != null) { //console.log(“total height = ” + totalHeight); //console.log(“childNode = ” + targetChildElement); storytext.childNodes[targetChildElement].insertAdjacentHTML(‘afterend’, smartAssetDiv); smartasset = document.getElementById(‘smartasset-article’); smartasset.style.float = ‘left’; // allows module to have text float to right smartasset.style.marginRight =’20px’; smartasset.style.marginBottom =’25px’; //console.log(storytext.childNodes[targetChildElement]); //SMARTASSET.setDivIndex(targetChildElement); SMARTASSET.setSmartAssetScript(); /* bail out since we’re done */ […]

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72-Hour Clause – Definition

A 72-hour clause, typically inserted in real estate sale contracts, is also known as an escape clause, release clause, kick-out clause, hedge clause or right of first refusal clause. The 72-hour clause is a seller contingency which allows the seller to accept a buyer’s contingent offer to purchase his/her property, while allowing the seller to continue to market the property. If the seller now receives another (better) offer to purchase the same property, he/she can also accept this offer, as a back-up offer. The seller can then activate the escape clause by notifying the original buyer about the back-up offer. The first buyer now has a specified period of time to fulfil all the buyer contingencies in the contract of sale, or cancel the contract and lose the property. If the buyer cannot fulfil the contingencies in time, the original contract will cancel and the back-up offer will move into first position. The term 72-hour clause can be somewhat misleading, because the notice period […]

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Abandonment – Definition

In law, abandonment is the relinquishment, giving up or renunciation of an interest, claim, civil proceedings, appeal, privilege, possession, or right, especially with the intent of never again resuming or reasserting it. Such intentional action may take the form of a discontinuance or a waiver. This broad meaning has a number of applications in different branches of law. In common law jurisdictions, both common law abandonment and statutory abandonment of property may be recognized. Common law abandonment is “the relinquishment of a right [in property] by the owner thereof without any regard to future possession by himself or any other person, and with the intention to foresake [sic] or desert the right….” or “the voluntary relinquishment of a thing by its owner with the intention of terminating his ownership, and without [the intention of] vesting ownership in any other person; the giving up of a thing absolutely, without reference to any particular person or purpose….”[ By contrast, an example of statutory abandonment (albeit in a common law jurisdiction) is the […]

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Abstract Of Title – Definition

A property abstract is a collection of legal documents that chronicle transactions associated with a particular parcel of land. Generally included are references to deeds, mortgages, wills, probate records, court litigations, and tax sales—basically, any legal document that affects the property. The abstract will show the names of all property owners, how long a particular holder owned it, and the price of the land when it was sold. Rarely will an abstract mention capital improvements to the property. Property abstracts are considered good starting places for research on historical buildings. Abstract of title An abstract of title is the condensed history of the title to a particular parcel of real estate, consisting of a summary of the original grant and all subsequent conveyances and encumbrances affecting the property and a certification by the abstractor that the history is complete and accurate. In the United States, the abstract of title furnishes the raw data for the preparation of a policy of title insurance for the parcel of land in question. In Iowa, commercial title insurance is outlawed, […]

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Acceleration Clause – Definition

An acceleration clause —or acceleration covenant— in the law of contracts, is a term that fully matures the performance due from a party upon a breach of the contract. Such clauses are most prevalent in mortgages and similar contracts to purchase real estate in installments. Suppose, for example, the contract was for A to purchase Blackacre from B for $100,000, to be paid in 5 monthly installments of $20,000. If A makes the first two payments, but fails to make the third payment, an acceleration clause would require that A must immediately pay B the entire balance of $60,000, or lose his right to purchase Blackacre (without getting a refund of his $40,000). A sample acceleration clause reads like this: In the event of default in the payment of any of the said installments or said interest when due as herein provided, time being of the essence hereof, the holder of this note may, without notice or demand, declare the entire principal […]

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Accession – Definition

Accession has different definitions depending upon its application. In property law, it is a mode of acquiring property that involves the addition of value to property through labor or the addition of new materials. For example, a person who owns a property on a river delta also takes ownership of any additional land that builds up along the riverbank due to natural deposits or man made deposits. In commercial law, accession includes goods that are physically united with other goods in such a manner that the identity of the original goods is not lost. In English common law, the added value belonged to the original property’s owner. For example, if the buyer of a car has parts added or replaced, then the buyer fails to make scheduled payments and the car is repossessed, the buyer has no right to the new parts because they have become a part of the whole car. In modern common law, if the […]

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Acknowledgment – Definition

In law, an acknowledgment is a declaration or avowal of one’s own act, used to authenticate legal instruments, which may give the instrument legal validity, and works to prevent the recording of false instruments or fraudulent executions. Acknowledgement involves a public official, frequently a notary public. The party executing the legal instrument orally declares that the instrument is his or her act or deed, and the official prepares a certificate attesting to the declaration. Acknowledgments are distinct from jurats, verifications, and attestations. A jurat differs from an acknowledgement in that a jurat lacks the statement that the instrument is the act or deed of the party executing it. A verification is distinct in that it seeks to verify the factual contents of the instrument, rather than the instrument itself. Finally, an attestation occurs where a third person gives his or her name as a witness to the actual execution of an instrument. Normally, acknowledgments only serve evidentiary purposes, but some jurisdictions have […]

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Acre – Definition

The acre is a unit of land area used in the imperial and US customary systems. It is defined as the area of 1 chain by 1 furlong (66 by 660 feet), which is exactly equal to  1⁄640 of a square mile, 43,560 square feet, approximately 4,047 m2, or about 40% of a hectare. One acre equals 0.0015625 square miles, 4,840 square yards, 43,560 square feet or about 4,047 square metres (0.405 hectares) (see below). While all modern variants of the acre contain 4,840 square yards, there are alternative definitions of a yard, so the exact size of an acre depends on which yard it is based. Originally, an acre was understood as a selion of land sized at forty perches (660 ft, or 1 furlong) long and four perches (66 ft) wide;[24]this may have also been understood as an approximation of the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plough in one day. A square enclosing one acre is approximately 69.57 yards, or 208 feet 9 inches (63.63 metres) on a side. As a unit of measure, an acre has no prescribed shape; any area of […]

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Ad Valorem Tax – Definition

An ad valorem tax (Latin for “according to value”) is a tax whose amount is based on the value of a transaction or of property. It is typically imposed at the time of a transaction, as in the case of a sales tax or value-added tax (VAT). An ad valorem tax may also be imposed annually, as in the case of a real or personal property tax, or in connection with another significant event (e.g. inheritance tax, expatriation tax, or tariff). In some countries a stamp duty is imposed as an ad valorem tax. A property tax, millage tax is an ad valorem tax that an owner of real estate or other property pays on the value of the property being taxed. There are three species or types of property: Land, Improvements to Land (immovable man made things), and Personal (movable man made things). Real estate, real property or realty are all terms for the combination of land and improvements. The taxing authority requires and/or performs an appraisal of the monetary value of the property, and tax is assessed […]

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Adjustable Rate Mortgage – Definition

A variable-rate mortgage, adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), or tracker mortgage is a mortgage loan with the interest rate on the note periodically adjusted based on an index which reflects the cost to the lender of borrowing on the credit markets. The loan may be offered at the lender’s standard variable rate/base rate. There may be a direct and legally defined link to the underlying index, but where the lender offers no specific link to the underlying market or index the rate can be changed at the lender’s discretion. The term “variable-rate mortgage” is most common outside the United States, whilst in the United States, “adjustable-rate mortgage” is most common, and implies a mortgage regulated by the Federal government, with caps on charges. In many countries, adjustable rate mortgages are the norm, and in such places, may simply be referred to as mortgages. Among the most common indices are the rates on 1-year constant-maturity Treasury (CMT) securities, the cost of funds index (COFI), and the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). […]

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Adverse Possession – Definition

Adverse possession is a situation when a person who does not have legal title to land (or real property) occupies the land without the permission of the legal owner. The permission of the owner may be reflected in the entering into a lease or granting a licence, typically associated with the payment of some rent. The laws of many countries allow the adverse possessor (in law also called the disseisor) to acquire title to the land after a prescribed statutory period, which varies between jurisdictions, and depends on the type of land and other circumstances. The laws of most jurisdictions do not permit claims of adverse possession against public land. Squatting is a form of adverse possession. The adverse possessor is usually required to prove non-permissive use which is actual, open and notorious, exclusive, adverse, and continuous for the statutory period. If a claim to title by adverse possession is successful, title is acquired without compensation. The circumstances in which adverse possession arises determine the type […]

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Air Rights – Definition

Air rights are the property interest in the “space” above the earth’s surface. Generally speaking, owning, or renting, land or a building includes the right to use and develop the space above the land without interference by others. Some jurisdictions restrict vertical development, but may allow developmental rights associated with vertical size of buildings to be transferred to the surrounding buildings. Thus in a dense downtown area, each building in the area may have the right to thirty-five stories of airspace. The owners of an old building of only three stories high could make a great deal of money by selling their building and allowing a thirty-five story skyscraper to be built in its place. To avoid the loss of historically interesting buildings, the government may instead choose to permit developers to purchase the unused air rights of nearby land. In this case, a skyscraper developer may purchase the unused 32 stories of […]

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Alienation – Definition

In property law, alienation is the capacity for a piece of property or a property right to be sold or otherwise transferred from one party to another. Although property is generally deemed to be alienable, it may be subject to restraints on alienation. In England under the feudal system, land was generally transferred by subinfeudation and alienation required licence from the overlord. Aboriginal title is one example of inalienability (save to the Crown) in common law jurisdictions.

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Allodial Title – Definition

Allodial title constitutes ownership of real property (land, buildings and fixtures) that is independent of any superior landlord. Allodial title is related to the concept of land held “in allodium”, or land ownership by occupancy and defense of the land. Historically, much of land was uninhabited and could therefore be held “in allodium”. Although the word “allodial” has been used in the context of private ownership in a few states of the United States this ownership is still, in much practice, restricted by governmental authority; the word “allodial” in these cases describes land with fewer but still significant governmental restrictions. Most property ownership in common law jurisdictions is fee simple. In the United States, land is subject to eminent domain by federal, state and local government, and subject to the imposition of taxes by state and/or local governments, and there is thus no true allodial land. Some states within the US (notably, Nevada and Texas) have provisions for considering land allodial under […]

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Amenity – Definition

In real estate and lodging, an amenity is something considered to benefit a property and thereby increase its value. Tangible amenities can include the number and nature of guest rooms and the provision of facilities such as elevators (lifts), wi-fi, restaurants, parks, communal areas, swimming pools, golf courses, health club facilities, party rooms, theater or media rooms, bike paths or garages, while intangible amenities can include aspects such as well-integrated public transport, pleasant views, nearby activities and a low crime rate. Within the context of environmental economics, an environmental amenity can include access to clean air or clean water, or the quality of any other environmental good that may reduce adverse health effects for residents or increase their economic welfare.

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Amortization – Definition

Amortization (or amortisation; see spelling differences) is the process of reducing, or accounting for, an amount (usually a financial debt) over a period according to a plan. Applications of amortization When used in the context of a home purchase, amortization is the process by which loan principal decreases over the life of a loan, typically an amortizing loan. As each mortgage payment is made, part of the payment is applied as interest on the loan, and the remainder of the payment is applied towards reducing the principal. An amortization schedule, a table detailing each periodic payment on a loan, shows the amounts of principal and interest and demonstrates how a loan’s principal amount decreases over time. An amortization schedule can be generated by an amortization calculator. Negative amortization is an amortization schedule where the loan amount actually increases through not paying the full interest. In business, amortization allocates a lump sum amount to different time periods, particularly for loans and […]

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Amortization Schedule – Definition

An amortization schedule is a table detailing each periodic payment on an amortizing loan (typically a mortgage), as generated by an amortization calculator. Amortization refers to the process of paying off a debt (often from a loan or mortgage) over time through regular payments. A portion of each payment is for interest while the remaining amount is applied towards the principal balance. The percentage of interest versus principal in each payment is determined in an amortization schedule. The schedule differentiates the portion of payment that belongs to interest expense from the portion used to close the gap of a discount or premium from the principal after each payment. While a portion of every payment is applied towards both the interest and the principal balance of the loan, the exact amount applied to principal each time varies (with the remainder going to interest). An amortization schedule indicates the specific monetary amount put towards interest, as well as the specific amount put towards the […]

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Appraised Value – Definition

An appraised value (United States) or mortgage valuation (Australia) pertains to the assessed value of real property in the opinion of a qualified appraiser or valuer. It is usually used as a pre-qualification & risk-based pricing factor related to the issuance of mortgage loans by a financial institution. When obtaining a mortgage, the funding lender relies on the standardized valuation methods of an appraiser to assess a monetary value for the specific piece of real property on which a loan will be secured (e.g. a residence). The lender will then justify the loan amount (and other risk-based pricing) factors as a percentage of the appraised value of the property. Appraised values can also be made after a property sale. For example, home owners wishing to gain access to their increased equity in their home may obtain a mortgage valuation to prove its value has risen and thus justify increasing the amount of their mortgage. Also, the various states of Australia each have a Valuer-General’s Department, which regularly assess land […]

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Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – Definition

The term annual percentage rate of charge (APR), corresponding sometimes to a nominal APR and sometimes to an effective APR (or EAPR), describes the interest rate for a whole year (annualized), rather than just a monthly fee/rate, as applied on a loan, mortgage loan, credit card, etc. It is a finance charge expressed as an annual rate.[4] Those terms have formal, legal definitions in some countries or legal jurisdictions, but in general: The nominal APR is the simple-interest rate (for a year). The effective APR is the fee+compound interest rate (calculated across a year). In some areas, the annual percentage rate (APR) is the simplified counterpart to the effective interest rate that the borrower will pay on a loan. In many countries and jurisdictions, lenders (such as banks) are required to disclose the “cost” of borrowing in some standardized way as a form of consumer protection. The (effective) APR has been intended to make it easier to compare lenders and loan options. In the U.S., the calculation and disclosure of APR is governed by […]

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Appurtenant Easement – Definition

In the US, an easement appurtenant is one that benefits the dominant estate and “runs with the land” and so generally transfers automatically when the dominant estate is transferred. Conversely, an easement in gross benefits an individual or a legal entity, rather than a dominant estate. The easement can be for a personal use (for example, an easement to use a boat ramp) or a commercial use (for example, an easement to a railroad company to build and maintain a rail line across property). Historically, an easement in gross was neither assignable nor inheritable, but commercial easements are now freely transferable to a third party. They are divisible but must be exclusive (the original owner no longer uses it and exclusive to easement holder) and all holders of the easement must agree to divide. If subdivided, each subdivided parcel enjoys the easement.

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Artificial Person – Definition

Artificial personality, juridical personality, or juristic personality is the characteristic of a non-living entity regarded by law to have the status of personhood. A juridical or artificial person (Latin: persona ficta; also juristic person) has a legal name and has certain rights, protections, privileges, responsibilities, and liabilities in law, similar to those of a natural person. The concept of a juridical person is a fundamental legal fiction. It is pertinent to the philosophy of law, as it is essential to laws affecting a corporation (corporations law). Juridical personality allows one or more natural persons (universitas personarum) to act as a single entity (body corporate) for legal purposes. In many jurisdictions, artificial personality allows that entity to be considered under law separately from its individual members (for example in a company limited by shares, its shareholders). They may sue and be sued, enter contracts, incur debt, and own property. Entities with legal personality may also be subjected to certain legal obligations, such as the payment of taxes. An entity with legal personality may shield its […]

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Asking Price – Definition

Ask price, also called offer price, offer, asking price, or simply ask, is the price a seller states she or he will accept. The seller may qualify the stated asking price as firm or negotiable. Firm means the seller is implying that the price is fixed and will not change. In bid and ask, the term ask price is used in contrast to the term bid price. The difference between the bid price and the ask price is called the spread.

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Assessment – Definition

An assessor is a specialist who calculates the value of property. The value calculated by the assessor is then used as the basis for determining the amounts to be paid or assessed for tax or insurance purposes. In local government in the United States, an assessor, also called a tax assessor, is an appointed or elected official charged with determining the value of each taxable property in a county, municipality, or township; this information is then used by the local governments to determine the necessary rates of taxation to support the community’s annual public budgets. (This is a specialization of the previous sense; a person who performs similar work for a private employer is more often called an appraiser or, specifically in the insurance industry, an adjuster.) In Florida, this official is known as the property appraiser. In Vermont, this office is known as a lister.

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Avulsion – Definition

In real property law, avulsion refers to a sudden loss or addition to land, which results from the action of water. It differs from accretion, which describes a gradual loss or addition to land resulting from the action of water. The distinction between avulsion and accretion becomes important where a river forms the boundary between two riparian owners. In many states (though not all), if the river changes channels by avulsion, the boundary does not change; it remains in the middle of the old channel. (This is why if you look at maps of the lower Mississippi river, you will find that some land on the east side of the river is part of Arkansas, and some land on the west side of the river is part of Tennessee. The river changed course quickly, so the state boundary did not change.) However, as a river gradually changes through accretion, the boundary changes with it. To prove that a change was […]

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Balloon Mortgage – Definition

A balloon payment mortgage is a mortgage which does not fully amortize over the term of the note, thus leaving a balance due at maturity. The final payment is called a balloon payment because of its large size. Balloon payment mortgages are more common in commercial real estate than in residential real estate. A balloon payment mortgage may have a fixed or a floating interest rate. The most common way of describing a balloon loan uses the terminology X due in Y, where X is the number of years over which the loan is amortized, and Y is the year in which the principal balance is due. An example of a balloon payment mortgage is the 7-year Fannie Mae Balloon, which features monthly payments based on a 30-year amortization. In the United States, the amount of the balloon payment must be stated in the contract if Truth-in-Lending provisions apply to the loan. Because borrowers may not have the resources to make the balloon payment at the end of the loan term, a “two-step” […]

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Bargain and Sale Deed – Definition

A bargain and sale deed is in United States real property law, a deed “conveying real property without covenants”. This is a deed “for which the grantor implies to have or have had an interest in the property but offers no warranties of title to the grantee.” Under common law, this type of deed technically created a use (law) in the buyer who then gets title. Under the Statute of uses, modern real property law disregards this subtle distinction. A bargain and sale deed is especially used by local governments, fiduciaries such as executors, and in foreclosure sales by sheriffs and referees. The fact that it comes without any warranties from the government means that the new owner may not have good title. If in fact, the city did not have good title or the city could not convey good title, then the new landowner is unlikely to be successful in obtaining a refund of the purchase price. Some states require a specific form to be used. Some states also allow a grantor (or seller) to add warranties. In such case, it […]

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Beneficiary – Definition

A beneficiary (also, in trust law, cestui que use) in the broadest sense is a natural person or other legal entity who receives money or other benefits from a benefactor. For example, the beneficiary of a life insurance policy is the person who receives the payment of the amount of insurance after the death of the insured. Most beneficiaries may be designed to designate where the assets will go when the owner(s) dies. However, if the primary beneficiary or beneficiaries are not alive or do not qualify under the restrictions, the assets will probably pass to the contingent beneficiaries. Other restrictions such as being married or more creative ones can be used by a benefactor to attempt to control the behavior of the beneficiaries. Some situations such as retirement accounts do not allow any restrictions beyond death of the primary beneficiaries, but trusts allow any restrictions that are not illegal or for an illegal purpose. The concept of a “beneficiary” will also frequently figure […]

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Bequest – Definition

A bequest is property given by will. Historically, bequest was used for personal property given by will and devise for real property. Today, the two words are used interchangeably. The word bequeath is a verb form for the act of making a bequest. Part of the process of probate involves interpreting the instructions in a will. Some wordings that define the scope of a bequest have specific interpretations. “All the estate I own” would involve all of the decedent’s possessions at the moment of death. A conditional bequest is a bequest that will be granted only if a particular event has occurred by the time of its operation. For example, a testator might write in the will that “Mary will receive the house held in trust if she is married” or “if she has children,” etc. An executory bequest is a bequest that will be granted only if a particular event occurs in the future. For example, a testator might write in the will that “Mary will receive the house held in trust set […]

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Binder – Definition

In law, a binder (also known as an agreement for sale, earnest money contract, memorandum of sale, contract to sell) is a short-form preliminary contract in which the purchaser agrees to buy and the seller agrees to sell certain real estate under stated terms and conditions, usually in the form of a purchase offer, and is enforceable in a court of law and used to secure a real estate transaction until a more formal, fully negotiated contract of sale can be signed

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Blanket Mortgage – Definition

A blanket loan, or blanket mortgage, is a type of loan used to fund the purchase of more than one piece of real property. Blanket loans are popular with builders and developers who buy large tracts of land, then subdivide them to create many individual parcels to be gradually sold one at a time. Rather than securing a new mortgage each time a portion of the development is sold, the borrower uses the blanket loan to buy them all. Once a parcel is sold, a portion of the mortgage is released, with the rest of the mortgage remaining intact. Traditional mortgages typically have a “due-on-sale clause”, which stipulates that if property secured by the mortgage is sold, the entire outstanding mortgage debt must be paid in full immediately. With a blanket mortgage, a “release clause” allows the sale of portions of the secured property and corresponding partial repayment of the loan. This is done to facilitate purchases […]

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Blockbusting – Definition

Blockbusting was a business process of U.S. real estate agents and building developers to convince white property owners to sell their house at low prices, which they did by promoting fear in those house owners that racial minorities would soon be moving into the neighborhood. The agents then sold those same houses at much higher prices to black families desperate to escape the overcrowded ghettos. Blockbusting became possible after the legislative and judicial dismantling of legally protected racially segregated real estate practices after World War II. By the 1980s it largely disappeared as a business practice, after changes in law and the real estate market. After the turn of the millennium, claims were made that a similar but inverse practice was occurring in New York State and New Jersey on behalf of orthodox Jews, who were pressuring non-Jews into selling based on the fear they will be outnumbered by Jews, and subsequently resold at a much higher price to Jews. […]

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Bona Fide Purchaser – Definition

A bona fide purchaser (BFP) – referred to more completely as a bona fide purchaser for value without notice – is a term used predominantly in common law jurisdictions in the lawof real property and personal property to refer to an innocent party who purchases property without notice of any other party’s claim to the title of that property. A BFP must purchase for value, meaning that he or she must pay for the property rather than simply be the beneficiary of a gift. Even when a party fraudulently conveys property to a BFP (for example, by selling to the BFP property that has already been conveyed to someone else), that BFP will, depending on the laws of the relevant jurisdiction, take good (valid) title to the property despite the competing claims of the other party. As such, recording one’s interest protects an owner from losing that interest to a subsequent buyer who qualifies as a BFP. Moreover, some jurisdictions (so-called “race-notice” jurisdictions) require the BFP himself or herself […]

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Boundary – Definition

A unit of real estate or immovable property is limited by a legal boundary (sometimes also referred to as a property line or a lot line). The boundary (in Latin: limes) may appear as a discontinuation in the terrain: a ditch, a bank, a hedge, a wall, or similar, but essentially, a legal boundary is a conceptual entity, a social construct, adjunct to the likewise abstract entity of property rights. A cadastral map displays how boundaries subdivide land into units of ownership. However, the relations between society, owner, and land in any culture or jurisdiction is conceived of in terms more complex than a tessellation. Therefore, the society concerned has to specify the rules and means by which the boundary concept is materialized and located on the ground. A ‘Western’ version of the operationalization might be a legally specified procedure, performed by a chartered surveyor, supported by statements from neighbors and pertinent documents, and resulting in official recording in the cadastre as well as boundary markings in the field. Alternatively, indigenous people represent […]

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Building Code – Definition

A building code (also building control or building regulations) is a set of rules that specify the standards for constructed objects such as buildings and nonbuilding structures. Buildings must conform to the code to obtain planning permission, usually from a local council. The main purpose of building codes is to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures. The building code becomes law of a particular jurisdiction when formally enacted by the appropriate governmental or private authority. Building codes are generally intended to be applied by architects, engineers, interior designers, constructors and regulators but are also used for various purposes by safety inspectors, environmental scientists, real estate developers, subcontractors, manufacturers of building products and materials, insurance companies, facility managers, tenants, and others. Codes regulating the design and construction of structures where adopted into law. Examples of building codes began in ancient times. In the USA the main codes are the International Commercial or Residential Code [ICC/IRC], electrical codes and plumbing, mechanical codes. Fifty states and […]

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Bundle Of Rights – Definition

The bundle of rights is a metaphor to explain the complexities of property ownership. Law school professors of introductory property law courses frequently use this conceptualization to describe “full” property ownership as a partition of various entitlements of different stakeholders. The bundle of rights is commonly taught in US first-year law school property classes to explain how a property can simultaneously be “owned” by multiple parties. The term, “bundle of rights,” likely came into use during the late 19th century and continued to gain ground thereafter. Prior to that, the idea of property entailed more the owner’s dominion over a thing, placing restrictions on others from “messing” with the owner’s property. “Bundle of rights,” however, implies rules specifying, proscribing, or authorizing actions on the part of the owner. Ownership of land is a much more complex proposition than simply acquiring all the rights to it. It is useful to imagine a bundle of rights that can be separated and reassembled. […]

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Buyer’s Agent – Definition

With the increase in the practice of buyer agency in North America, especially since the late 1990s in most areas, agents (acting under their brokers) have been able to represent buyers in the transaction with a written “buyer agency agreement” not unlike the “listing agreement” between brokers and sellers (often referred to as a sellers agency). The real estate licensee, upon entering into a written agreement with a buyer, agrees to work solely for the buyer and in return, the buyer agrees to exclusive representation. At this point, a real estate brokerage owes the buyer the duties on Loyalty to the buyer by acting in the buyer’s best interest. Confidentiality by not disclosing facts that could influence the buyers ability to negotiate the best terms. Disclosure to other parties in the transaction that the licensee has been engaged as a buyer’s agent. The broker negotiates price and terms on behalf of the buyers and […]

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How to Leverage Snapchat’s New ‘Snap Maps’ in Real Estate

Real estate is an image-based business. Agents use photos and videos to both visually and emotionally connect with prospects. While many agents use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, others are turning to different platforms to reach younger buyers. With 100 million daily users, Snapchat can be a great way to connect with this […]

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Predictive Analytics: The Next Big Thing in Real Estate?

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com: 5 Life Hacks Using Smart Home Devices 5 Practical Water Conservation Tips to Keep Your Garden Lean and Green Are Shipping Containers the Future of Swimming Pools? In this first article of a three-part series, learn all […]

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Make REALTOR® Safety a Priority Year-Round With Tips From NAR

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is committed to keeping our members safe and empowering them with the knowledge and awareness to avoid risky situations. As part of that commitment, NAR offers helpful weekly safety tips for REALTORS® throughout the year. It’s always a good time to review your office safety protocols. Build a culture […]

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Cutting-Edge Customization

When you operate a tech-savvy, cloud-based brokerage with a fresh business model, partnering with vendors who can accommodate your unique needs is critical. For Josh Harley’s Fathom Realty, located in 18 states and covering over 35 MLSs, finding a custom website firm to help build his mostly-virtual company’s web presence was a tall order. Luckily […]

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Penny Nathan: Raising the Standard for Success

Penny Nathan’s career in real estate began in 2000 when she started selling homes in San Diego. Today, she serves as president and CEO of Ascent Real Estate, Inc. “Real estate first drew my attention as a business in which I would have a deep, intrinsic interest,” says Nathan. “It offers the stability that homeownership […]

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6 Flood Insurance Myths Debunked

(TNS)—If a flood swamps your home, will insurance cover the damage? That depends on the value of your home, the amount of water damage and whether you have a flood insurance policy. Regular home insurance doesn’t cover flooding. You’ll need a policy offered through the government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)—but note that those top […]

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Online Home Value Estimates Are NOT Appraisals

Where are these home value estimates coming from? By Karen Belita, Data Scientist The prevalence of technology gives anyone more access to a broad spectrum of information on the internet. In real estate, access to property details and values is easier due partly to Automated Valuation Models or AVMs. Automated Valuation Models spit out a […]

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All the Single Ladies (Are Buying Homes)

It doesn’t come as a huge surprise that the largest share of homebuyer households is married couples. In fact, 67 percent of all homebuyers are married couples. The second most common group of buyers, however, is single females. According to the 2016 National Association of REALTORS® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report, single females make up 15 percent of all home buyers, and this number creeps up when looking at older buyers—20 percent of buyers between 51 and 60 years of age and 19 percent between the ages of 61 and 69 are single females. These… Read More

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Homebuyers Seeking Green Features

There are many reasons to live life “greener”—to help the environment and to save some money on energy bills are typically the biggest draws. But how many homebuyers are actively seeking green features, and what are they looking for? …

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Student Debt and Homeownership

Stagnant wage growth, underemployment, rising home prices and tight inventory have all been pinpointed as reasons why the homeownership rate for young adults remains subdued at levels not seen in decades. According to new data from the National Associa…

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You Bought a House! Now What?

You’ve signed the papers, made the down payment and the keys are in your hand. You own your first home! That’s when the question that all new homeowners face appears: what exactly should you do next? Should you change the locks? Clean every…

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American Dream Has International Appeal

Foreign buyers continue to view the U.S. as a desirable place to own property; according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2016 Profile of International Activity, U.S. residential real estate sales to international clients accounted for $102 billion between April 2015 and March 2016.

Five states accounted for half of foreign buyer purchases. Buyers flocked to Florida, California, Texas, Arizona and New York. Latin Americans, Europeans and Canadians – who tend to buy in… Read More

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Financing a Home Purchase the Right Way

It’s common knowledge that purchasing a home can be challenging. But while some buyers may lose sleep over home inspections or finding a home in their favorite neighborhood, real estate professionals know that one of the biggest difficulties is actually tied to financing the home.

In fact, according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, an overwhelming majority of recent buyers (86 percent) financed the purchase of their home. Younger buyers were more likely to finance and for more of the purchase price; the median down… Read More

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