Spring is the time to fix what Mother Nature wrought on your fencing during the winter, whether you're planning to put your home on the market or just sprucing it up.

By Tony at MSN Real Estate Mar 31, 2011 10:39AM

Need to fix your broken wood fence? Spring may be the time to do it. (© Bilderbuch/age footstock)Ever watch an airplane's wing flap sway forward upon descent? That's what our wood fence looked like during a windstorm a few weeks ago. Our neighbors fared worse: One of their two old-growth Douglas fir trees toppled onto the other. Now they're both truckloads of wood chips. Alas, our east view is now impeccable.


But from the street, the appearance of our place is scarred by what's now a jagged, undulating mess of slats — as though Frank Gehry and Christo built it during a "quick-fire challenge" on the unrealized HGTV show "Make Stuff With Old Wood: Celebrity Face-off." If your fence looks the same and you're considering selling your home or simply avoiding embarrassment, this may be the opportune time to fix it.

According to Consumer Reports, spring is not only prime time for undoing damage caused by wind, rain or heavy snow, but it's also the first chance many of us have this year to paint or stain wood outdoors. In some cases, cosmetic changes could prevent fence decay.


Signs may point to a slight decline in interest rates, if that, as summer winds down.

By MSN Real Estate partner 1 hour ago

 © Exactostock/SuperStockBy HSH.com


Summer came to an unofficial end on Monday, closing a spring and summer "housing season" that has been mixed at best. You can't blame the present modest levels of home sales on mortgage rates, though, as they've remained virtually unchanged since before Memorial Day.


As has been the pattern, decent-to-solid economic news here in the U.S. suggests that interest rates may be poised to firm somewhat, but economic and political troubles around the globe keep fresh funds pouring into U.S. debt, tethering interest rates at these levels.


In the next few weeks, a quickened pace of activity typically replaces the summer doldrums, and mortgage rates may start the process of moving out of current ranges. For the moment, rates remain almost perfectly balanced between recent low and high points -- the fulcrum point of a seesaw.

Tags: loans

If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are wound down, housing prices may fall to a dangerous low, he says.

By MSN Real Estate partner 4 hours ago

By Jeff Cox, CNBC


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Tags: loans

Current homeowners locked into low mortgage rates may stay in their homes longer if rates go up.

By MSN Real Estate partner 4 hours ago

© Southern Stock Corp/CorbisBy Steve Cook, HSH.com


Refinancing has done a lot of good over the last few years, allowing millions of homeowners to lower monthly payments thanks to historically low mortgage rates and save underwater homes from foreclosure. Refinances have also helped mortgage lenders boost their business following the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression.


But with housing inventory already so low, some market analysts fear that homeowners who refinanced to a historically low mortgage rate will be "locked in" to their homes once mortgage rates begin to rise, afraid to sell and incur higher costs.


Autumn could mark an uptick in home sales, Redfin says.

By MSN Real Estate partner 8 hours ago

By Diana Olick, CNBC


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The retired MLB strikeout king's 25,000-square-foot home features a fitness facility, 'pet suite,' eight-car motor court and more.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 8:10 AM

ZillowBy Catherine Sherman, Zillow


"The Big Unit" is selling the big one. Randy Johnson’s 25,000-square-foot estate will be officially listed for $25 million Monday.


Located on a tiered, 5-acre parcel in Paradise Valley, Arizona, the main residence has seven bedrooms and 12 bathrooms. There’s also a detached guesthouse and commercial-grade fitness facility.

"This is a very thoughtfully designed estate," said listing agent Robert Joffe of Berkshire Hathaway's The Joffe Group. "The layout works and feels comfortable, without being overwhelming. The craftsmanship is impeccable, and the finish materials are some of the finest I've ever seen."

Tags: celebrity

One study says that houses within a certain distance of places of worship sell for 4.8 percent more than others.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 7:55 AM

© Visions of America/Joe Sohm/Getty ImagesBy Stefanos Chen, The Wall Street Journal


Call it the halo effect for real estate.


A study of the housing market in Hamburg, Germany, found that condos located between 100 to 200 meters, or 109 to 219 yards, away from a place of worship listed for an average 4.8 percent more than other homes. The effect was similar across all religious buildings studied, including churches, mosques and temples.


"It's something we find for other amenities, as well," said Wolfgang Maennig, a professor at the University of Hamburg Department of Economics and Social Sciences and co-author of the report. He likens the price bump to perks such as proximity to public transportation and sports arenas.


The newlyweds are reportedly trading Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo's duplex for a SoHo loft.

By MSN Real Estate partner Thu 1:12 PM

ZillowBy Catherine Sherman, Zillow


Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo made their first red-carpet appearance as newlyweds this week after tying the knot in Mexico last month. The husband and wife are also making real estate moves together, selling Prinsloo's East Village duplex while closing in on a SoHo loft.

Property records show Prinsloo has sold her bachelorette pad for $1.65 million. The buyer, Renata "Noot" Seear, is also a fashion model. The duplex has one bedroom and 1.5 baths with an abundance of natural light. The New York Post notes the best feature is the 800-square-foot private-landscaped backyard — a rarity in Manhattan.

Tags: celebrity

Appeal comes as owners of Florida building aim to turn sold units back into apartments on Sept. 5.

By MSN Real Estate partner Thu 10:04 AM

CNBCBy Diana Olick, CNBC


Florida condominium owners in danger of losing their homes are making a final desperate plea, hoping that Gov. Rick Scott will intervene.


These owners are not in foreclosure, nor are they behind on their mortgages. Instead they are being threatened by a group of developers, Madison Oaks Partners, who are using a Florida state law originally designed to protect homeowners from natural disaster, to terminate the condominium agreement and force them to sell their units.



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