After a Colorado teacher's home burned to the ground, she started a blog chronicling her anger, frustration and moments of joy.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Mar 9, 2011 1:05PM

Firefighter's vehicle parked amidst the ruins of homes burned in the September 8, 2010, wildfire near Boulder, Colo. (© John Moore/Getty Images)When Andi O'Conor lost her home in Colorado to a fire, she was abruptly forced to re-examine her concept of home, to reconsider what really matters in life and what role "stuff" plays.

She is chronicling her journey of loss and renewal in a blog called "Burning Down the House," with the subtitle "Essays on the Poetry of Loss." The journey is "the essence of paradox" she told Caroline H. Dworin of The New York Times. We may all fantasize about starting over, but as O'Conor, 53, writes:

There is philosophy and there is reality. Deep down, we sometimes wish we were free of all this stuff, that we were 22 again, and everything we owned fit into the back of an old Honda Civic. But then we realize that, for the most part, we need stuff to make a life. And when it all goes away, we are plunged into a strange and spinning place, with nothing to hold onto — no house, no home, no stuff, no clothes, no papers, no books, no clutter. Nothing to own. Nothing to own you.

For O'Conor, a teacher and public-speaking coach, it was the second time she had lost everything to fire; her family home burned down when she was 12.


Tax Day has come and gone, but these tips can help homeowners save money the next time they file.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 11:07 AM

© Digital Vision, Getty ImagesBy Anya Martin, The Wall Street Journal


One rueful lesson of tax season: Some deductions require lots of advance planning. Homeowners willing to do the legwork now can find some creative ways to lessen their tax bills next year.


Jumbo-mortgage holders can only deduct annual interest payments on up to $1 million of debt that they take to buy, build or improve a home. They can also deduct interest on up to $100,000 of equity-line or equity-loan debt.


But federal and state income taxes, as well as property taxes, offer a variety of exemptions, deductions and credits that can save money for luxury homeowners, according to certified financial planners.


Deliquencies increased at the end of 2013, and they may grow more this year.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 10:13 AM

© Hemera Technologies, JupiterimagesBy Christine DiGangi, Credit.com


For several quarters, lenders have been reporting low and falling delinquency rates for credit card, mortgage and auto-loan borrowers, and that positive trend has opened credit products to consumers with lower credit scores.


That may be starting to shift.


A greater share of mortgages were 30 to 59 days past due in the fourth quarter of 2013 than at the same time in 2012, and bank risk professionals expect credit card and auto loan delinquencies to follow suit.

Tags: loans

If you're heading to your first open house this weekend, arrive with a plan in mind.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 9:43 AM

By Marcie Geffner, HSH.com


There's more that goes into buying a home for the first time besides shopping online for mortgage rates. To find the perfect home, you have to log off of the computer, get in your car and see homes for yourself. One way to do that is visiting open houses.


First-time homebuyers might naturally be reluctant to attend an open house held by a real estate agent. After all, no one likes to be hassled by a pushy salesperson. But in fact, open houses can be a good opportunity.


As Ken Pozek, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty in Northville, Mich., says, "It's a cool idea."


The suspended MLB star reportedly will receive $2.575 million for the unit, which he purchased for $2.1 million in 2013.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 9:10 AM

realtor.comBy Neal J. Leitereg, realtor.com


Alex Rodriguez won't be cashing any paychecks from the New York Yankees this year, but the embattled Major League Baseball superstar is still finding ways to get paid.


The currently suspended slugger has turned a small profit after flipping a luxury unit at the Mei Condominiums building in Miami Beach, Fla. The Wall Street Journal reports the sale of the condo closed last week for $2.575 million, with Rodriguez's sister, Sotheby’s International Realtor Arlene Susy Dunand, representing him in the deal.

Tags: celebrity

The house of Gilbert Arenas includes shark tanks, a hyperbaric chamber and a grotto. It's listed for $2.798 million.

By MSN Real Estate partner Thu 10:56 AM

realtor.comBy Neal J. Leitereg, realtor.com


Like the player himself, the market for Gilbert Arenas' mansion in Virginia appears to have bottomed out.


The NBA free agent’s 9,000-square-foot spread, known for its multiple custom shark tanks and "Entourage"-style swimming pool and grotto, has returned to the market at a discount. Arenas originally asked $3.5 million when he first began shopping the home in 2012, and he then dropped the price to $3 million last year. However, after its latest price cut, the mansion can now be had for just $2.798 million.

Tags: celebrity

An uneven recovery has left homeowners in some parts of the country owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

By MSN Real Estate partner Thu 9:17 AM

© Creatas, PhotolibraryBy John Schoen, CNBC


For millions of Americans still stuck in homes with mortgages bigger that the house is worth, the long slog back to dry land is getting longer.


Nationwide, plummeting prices from the housing collapse in 2007 left more than a quarter of all homeowners with a mortgage owing more than their home was worth. Now, the recovery in home prices in many parts of the country has helped lift some underwater homeowners back above water.


But as the rebound in home prices has slowed in recent months, so has the recovery process for those still submerged with negative equity, according to the latest data from RealtyTrac.


Average rate on 30-year fixed-rate home is now 4.27 percent, after Fed announcement.

By MSN Real Estate partner Thu 8:45 AM

© Don Bayley/Getty ImagesBy Prashant Gopal, Bloomberg


Mortgage rates in the U.S. fell, sending costs for 30-year loans to the lowest since early February as the Federal Reserve confirmed its commitment to provide support for the economic recovery.


The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.27 percent this week, down from 4.34 percent, according to a statement on Thursday from Freddie Mac. The average 15-year rate dropped to 3.33 percent from 3.38 percent, the McLean, Va.-based mortgage-finance company said.

Tags: loans

The price is right, but good luck turning a profit, house flippers say.

By MSN Partner Wed 8:52 AM

Via www.buildingdetroit.orgBy Daniel Goldstein, MarketWatch


For sale: A spacious 1,600-square-foot, three-bedroom Tudor-style home built in 1929, with one-and-a-half baths, glass block windows, hardwood floors, crown molding and custom fireplaces. Within walking distance of restaurants, playgrounds and public schools.


And it’s being offered next month for as little as $1,000.


Just one catch. The single-family house on 5500 Kensington Ave. has a ZIP code that makes listing agents wake up in cold sweats: 48224.






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