Need help figuring out what steps to take first to get started buying a home? The Department of Housing and Urban Development hopes to help.

By Mai Ling at MSN Real Estate Nov 5, 2010 10:29AM

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is hoping to help explain the homebuying process with a series of new videos. (© Jupiterimages/Getty Images)When I bought my first home, I had the benefit of having numerous friends who recently had gone through the process, not to mention others who worked in the industry and were full of tips and helpful information.


But many people who would like to buy a home may not have those kinds of resources so readily available, and for them the homebuying experience can be full of confusion and disappointment, especially in today's tight lending market and uncertainty about the future of home prices.

We at MSN Real Estate hope that you can find all of the information you need on our First-Time Homebuyers site, but another valuable resource are the homebuying how-to videos that the Department of Housing and Urban Development unveiled this week.


The most expensive homes are spending less time on the market.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 12:24 PM

By Stefanos Chen, The Wall Street Journal


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Tags: selling

Approach is designed to help buyers visualize what a space would look like after a little work.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 9:26 AM

By Diana Olick, CNBC


Post begins below video

Tags: selling

The recently remodeled home, featured in the 1950s and '60s television show, is listed for $5 million.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 8:13 AM

ZillowBy Emily Heffter, Zillow


Rehabbed from top to bottom, this house will always be remembered as the home of Ozzie and Harriet, America's first real television family between 1952 and 1966. It also served as Ari Gold’s home on "Entourage."


When it last changed hands in 2013 for $3.025 million, the home still had the same kitchen layout as it did on television, and Ozzie's wood-paneled "pub room" stood frozen in time, complete with Ozzie's model train. As Yahoo reported, previous owners said the train would sometimes start on its own. And other owners since Ozzie’s death said they would sometimes find a kitchen drawer open beside the sink, presumably because his ghost wanted a bowl of ice cream in the middle of the night.

Tags: celebrity

It's true that fewer homeowners can still profit from refinancing. But that doesn't mean everyone is excluded.

By MSN Real Estate partner Thu 10:02 AM

Nick M. Do/Getty ImagesBy Jeff Brown, MainStreet


By now most homeowners know that the refinance ship has sailed. Or has it?


For those whose circumstances have recently changed there may still be a chance to get a better mortgage deal. A homeowner whose credit score has improved, for instance, might now be able to get a low enough rate to make the refinance arithmetic work, as could one whose income has risen significantly or one who has given up self-employment to work for a stable firm.

Tags: loans

August's year-over-year gain is the first in four years.

By MSN Real Estate partner Thu 8:37 AM

Kirby Hamilton/Getty ImagesBy Diana Olick, CNBC


After falling for four years straight, the number of U.S. properties scheduled for foreclosure auction in August was higher than it was a year ago, according to a new report from RealtyTrac, a foreclosure sales and analytics company. The rise was very small, just 1 percent, but it was, nonetheless, a warning that the foreclosure crisis is not entirely over.


"The messy business of cleaning up the distress lingering from the housing bust continues in many markets," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "The annual increase in foreclosure auctions — the first since the robo-signing controversy rocked the foreclosure industry back in late 2010 — indicates mortgage servicers are finally adjusting to the new paradigms for proper foreclosure that have been implemented in many states, whether by legislation or litigation or both."


Proposed changes to mortgage-insurance requirements could mean new homebuyers with subpar credit may pay more.

By MSN Real Estate partner Wed 10:33 AM

© Don Bayley/Getty ImagesBy Christine DiGangi, Credit.com


Proposed changes to requirements for private mortgage insurance could increase mortgage costs for many homebuyers, particularly borrowers with relatively poor credit, according to a new report from the Urban Institute and Moody's Analytics.


Borrowers are required to get private mortgage insurance (PMI) when their down payment is less than 20 percent of the home's value, to protect the lender in the event the borrower defaults on the loan. Given the high number of defaults in the mortgage crisis, the mortgage-insurance industry was strained, which is why there's a push to strengthen protections moving forward.


Fannie Mae's delayed-financing program allows for an immediate refinance.

By MSN Real Estate partner Wed 10:17 AM

© Image Source, age fotostockBy Janna Herron, Bankrate


As homebuyers plunk down all cash to win houses, some of them might wonder how quickly they can convert that equity back into Benjamins. The answer? They can get a cash-out refinance almost immediately, thanks to a little-known Fannie Mae program.


Pay cash, then get immediate cash-out refi

The delayed-financing program allows all-cash homebuyers to refinance and take equity out as soon as they close on the home purchase.


Before mid-2011, when the program went into effect, homebuyers had to wait at least six months before tapping home equity.

Tags: loans

Teresa and Joe Giudice are selling their home for $3.999 million. They are set to be sentenced on fraud charges next month.

By MSN Real Estate partner Wed 9:51 AM

ZillowBy Emily Heffter, Zillow


After pleading guilty to a money fraud scheme, "Real Housewives of New Jersey" stars Joe and Teresa Giudice have put their ornate suburban mansion on the market for $3.999 million.


The custom-built home in Towaco, New Jersey, is lavishly decorated with marble floors, custom moldings and lots and lots of chandeliers. The front door opens to two gold-trimmed Cinderella staircases under a massive crystal chandelier.

Tags: celebrity


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