Articles filed under Harney, Ken

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  • Mortgage complaint line brings attention to detail Mar 27, 2015 12:00 AM
    Move over, Yelp. The federal government’s top consumer agency has just begun allowing mortgage borrowers to vent publicly — in full narrative detail — about the bad experiences they’ve had with financial institutions.

  • Some say leased solar panels become a headache Mar 20, 2015 12:00 AM
    Can going green by leasing solar panels for your roof cost you money — or headaches — when you go to sell the house?

  • Will help arrive for underwater homeowners in 2015? Mar 13, 2015 12:00 AM
    Although most real estate markets have rebounded from their recession lows, this harsh fact remains: About 7 million homeowners continue to be stuck in the tar pit of serious negative equity, with mortgage debt at least 25 percent higher than the value of their property, according to research firm RealtyTrac.

  • Rent payments can improve your credit score Mar 6, 2015 12:00 AM
    It’s the great credit divide in American housing: If you buy a home and pay your mortgage on time regularly, your credit score typically benefits. If you rent an apartment and pay the landlord on time every month, you get no boost to your score — zip.

  • The 6 percent home sale fee isn’t sacred Feb 27, 2015 12:00 AM
    As a home buyer or seller, do you really understand real estate commissions? Do you know how much a real estate agent who lists a house for sale typically gets? Equally important, how much the agent who brings you in as a buyer gets paid?

  • Requirements for mortgages are easing Feb 20, 2015 12:00 AM
    After years of progressively tighter rules on borrower eligibility in the wake of the housing bust, banks and mortgage companies have begun modestly easing their requirements and even expanding the types of mortgages they offer.

  • Homeowner tax breaks appear safe, for now Feb 13, 2015 12:00 AM
    Tax reform is revving up again on Capitol Hill, with the heads of key committees pledging to work toward a simpler and fairer tax code, possibly one with lower tax rates. Sounds intriguing.

  • The scoop on Zestimates Feb 6, 2015 12:00 AM
    When “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell asked the CEO of Zillow last week about the accuracy of the website’s automated property value estimates — known as Zestimates — she touched on one of the most sensitive perception gaps in American real estate.

  • Millennials jump into the mortgage market Jan 30, 2015 12:01 AM
    Call them the prodigal millennials: Statistical measures and anecdotal reports suggest that young couples and singles in their late 20s and early 30s have begun making a belated entry into the home buying market, pushed by mortgage rates in the mid-3 percent range, government efforts to ease credit requirements and deep frustrations at having to pay rising rents without creating equity.

  • Consumer agency’s website gets an incomplete grade Jan 23, 2015 12:01 AM
    WASHINGTON — When the federal government’s consumer protection agency for financial matters tells you how to shop for a good deal on a home mortgage, you should follow the advice, right?

  • Not all buyers benefit from lower FHA interest rates Jan 16, 2015 12:01 AM
    If you saw the White House announcement of lower insurance payments on Federal Housing Administration home mortgages last week, you might have wondered: Does this matter to me as a potential homebuyer or refinancer? Who specifically will benefit from the decrease in fees?

  • A looming battle over home appraisals Jan 9, 2015 12:01 AM
    Could a controversial new program set for launch nationwide this month by giant mortgage investor Fannie Mae lead to slower and costlier home sale closings and more disputes over prices between sellers and buyers — busting deals when the appraised value comes in below what the parties agreed to in the contract?

  • Congress extends tax forgiveness on short sales in 2014 Dec 26, 2014 12:01 AM
    For David Foster of Chicago, it was a stunning and welcome early Christmas present for him, his wife and three young children. The Senate’s 11th-hour extension of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act through Dec. 31 will save Foster, who works for a nonprofit ministry group, from having to pay the IRS about $28,000 next year.

  • Owners sometimes come up short on home values Dec 19, 2014 12:01 AM
    Do American homeowners think their properties are worth less than the actual market value, as measured by professional appraisers?

  • The cold facts about winter listings Dec 12, 2014 12:01 AM
    So you’ve begun thinking about selling your house and you figure: Let’s wait until the spring or early summer before listing. The yard will look its best and potential buyers will be out in force. And everybody knows that winter is dead time for real estate.

  • Mortgage lending restrictions are easing at last Dec 5, 2014 12:01 AM
    When it comes to buying a house, are you in the “no way I could possibly qualify” category? Not enough cash in the bank for a down payment or closing costs?

  • Home equity lines are back in vogue Nov 28, 2014 12:01 AM
    If you’re thinking about taking out a new home equity line, you’re hardly alone. Credit lines tied to home equity — popularly known as HELOCs — are one of the fastest-growing segments in the mortgage market.

  • Tighter standards on reverse mortgages arrive soon Nov 21, 2014 12:01 AM
    Are reverse mortgages headed in reverse? Based on forthcoming federal rule changes for seniors who expect to apply for one, you might think so. But as a taxpayer, you might say, bravo: Toughening up qualification standards — including such basics as checking applicants’ credit, income and cash flows — is a leap forward, long overdue.

  • Chicagoan, like many others, still twisting in tax limbo Nov 14, 2014 12:01 AM
    David Foster, who sold his condo in Chicago last month, isn’t plugged into Capitol Hill’s political games. But he has banked the financial future of his family on Congress accomplishing at least one thing during the postelection session that began this week: Renewing the expired Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act so that he and his wife and three young children aren’t crushed by unaffordable taxes next year on the $100,000 his lender agreed to cancel as part of a short sale.

  • Changes needed to unleash the red-hot condo market Nov 7, 2014 12:01 AM
    Call it the condo conundrum: Demand for condominium units is rising in many urban areas nationwide, according to new real estate industry estimates, yet mortgage financing is getting squeezed for entry-level condo buyers by a key federal agency.

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