• Archive of "Real Estate" Category

    Durham Real Estate Market

    April 22, 2010 // Comments Off

    Durham, North Carolina
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    The Durham real estate market is in a complicated situation – key indicators seem to indicate that the market is recovering, but the lingering effects of the recession continue to plague some hard-hit areas in the North Carolina City. According to an April 7, 2010 article in the News Observer, “Foreclosure filings in the Triangle slowed some in March but total filings for the first three months are still up 56 percent compared to the same period last year. Filings in Durham, Johnston, Orange, and Wake counties totaled 2,386 through the first three months of 2010, the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts reports.” The piece continued to state that “Triangle filings have been up 72 percent compared to last year through the first two months. The four-county region accounted for 14 percent of the 17,552 foreclosure filings in North Carolina through the first three months of the year.”

    This gradual recovery for Durham real estate, along with some concerted government relief efforts, however, has not been enough for some families. According to an April 11, 2010 article in the Charlotte Observer, “Recent changes to the federal foreclosure-prevention program were billed as helping the unemployed, but in the long run, they actually make it harder for people without jobs to keep their homes.” The piece, composed by Stella M. Hopkins, continued to note that “When the new rules go into effect, unemployment benefits will no longer count as income for determining whether a person qualifies for a long-term reduction in their mortgage payments. So for people with no income other than unemployment, there will be no loan modifications – the chief tool for preventing foreclosure.”

    Some other North Carolina markets, which are in many ways similar to Durham homes for sale, have been seeing an increase in recent sales volume, according to an April 14, 2010 article in the Tidewater News. This piece, written by Gwen Albers, found that “Sales of existing homes in the Isle of Wight and Southampton counties and City of Franklin more than doubled from February to March. Nine homes were sold in February and 22 in March.”

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    FairClosingCosts.com Launches in May

    October 12, 2009 // Comments Off

    PALMDALE, CA - FEBRUARY 25:  Real estate broke...
    Image by Getty Images via Daylife

    Inman News reports that a new website, FairClosingCosts.com, will launch in May. The site aims to allow home buyers to shop independently for providers of their closing services. The site won’t sell your information to vendors; instead, it will act as an “online Rolodex” allowing visitors to research and find contact information for vendors.
    Most buyers go as far as choosing a real estate agent, lender, home inspector, closing attorney, and insurance agent. They then allow those service providers to choose the rest of their service providers.
    In a best case scenario, everyone is looking out for the buyer’s interests, and selecting high quality service providers with fair and competitive pricing. In reality, buyers are often unaware of exactly who is doing what for them. This encourages vendors to form cozy business relationships of the “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours ” variety that serve the vendors more than their clients. There is a law that governs these “third party” vendor relationships – how vendors should disclose their relationships to clients, and whether vendors can pay each other for referrals (see RESPA).
    It looks like FairClosingCosts.com wants to take it one step further, essentially allowing buyers to cut out the middle man, or at least check prices and keep them honest. I think most service providers are up front about these things anyway, but adding more transparency to the process can only help to avoid any miscommunication and cut down on abuse of the system.
    Here’s a quiz. When you bought your last home, which of these services did you shop for, price, and hire yourself?

    • Real estate agent
    • Lender
    • Appraiser
    • Insurance agent
    • Home inspector
    • Home warranty provider
    • Notary public
    • Surveyor
    • Attorney/settlement company/ title examination
    • Title insurance company
    • Wood infestation (termite) inspector
    • Septic inspection
    • Well water inspection
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