Colorado residents come home to find strangers living in their house. Eight months later, they are still waiting to get back in.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jul 16, 2012 1:18PM

Troy Donovan stands in front of his home. (credit: CBS)Here is your worst nightmare: You go temporarily to another town for work, and when you come back, another family has taken over your house.


That happened to the Donovan family of Littleton, Colo. The Donovans have been pursuing legal action for eight months to get their home back.


Back in March 2011, Troy Donovan got a job in Indiana, and his wife, Dayna, and two daughters moved with him. After months of trying to sell their Colorado house, the family gave up, winterized the place and turned off the utilities, expecting their vacant home to be waiting for them when they returned.


But to their surprise, it was not. Neighbors informed them other people had moved in.

Tags: buying

Low inventory has turned the tables in Las Vegas and Phoenix, but you can still negotiate in Chicago and Philadelphia, according to a new Zillow analysis.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jul 13, 2012 12:47PM

Chicago, the top buyers' market. © Ken Ilio/Getty ImagesProving once again that there is more than one way to crunch a set of statistics, Zillow has come up with a new list of the top buyers and sellers markets in the United States.


The list is based on how long listings stay on the market, what percentage undergo price cuts before they sell and how list prices compare with sale prices. Zillow took all those numbers into account in the 50 largest metro areas to create its list.


Using these criteria, a sellers market isn't necessarily one in which prices are rising, but a market where homes are staying on the market for less time and selling for closer to the asking price.


Not only should soft drinks be smaller, but living units also should, Michael Bloomberg suggests. His goal is to create more housing for smaller households.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jul 13, 2012 12:44PM

© BUILT Images / AlamyIf you thought New York City apartments couldn't get any smaller, Mayor Michael Bloomberg disagrees.


He is asking developers to submit proposals for a new building made up of "micro-apartments" of 275 to 300 square feet. As envisioned by the mayor, the units would have bathrooms and kitchens, windows even, but no closet — which seems like an epic fail from the beginning.


You might learn to live with less closet space but NO closet space? We think the mayor's design can be improved. His honor, by the way, has a 12,500-square-foot townhouse.


The architect and homeowners spent seven years working on the design before building the home in 1967 outside Philadelphia.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jul 12, 2012 1:46PM

Photo by Tom Crane. Courtesy of Elfant Wissahickon RealtorsOne of a handful of homes designed by the famous Philadelphia architect Louis Kahn will be sold next month.


The Fisher House, in the Philadelphia suburb of Hatboro, Pa., built in 1967, is for sale by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which will maintain an easement to preserve the home.


This is the first time the home has been listed. The house is 1,891 square feet on 2.69 acres. It has four bedrooms and two and a half baths.


The professions for which returning servicepeople are training don't pay enough to cover a mortgage in many cities, the Center for Housing Policy says.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jul 12, 2012 10:08AM

Model house and money on scale. © SuperStockReturning veterans who train for new jobs still may not be able to afford housing in many U.S. cities.


And that goes for a lot of other people, too. A new study by the Center for Housing Policy looks at 74 occupations and whether the median incomes in those professions are enough to afford either a median-price home or the rent on a one- or two-bedroom apartment.


"In many housing markets, the jobs America's servicemen and women may find waiting for them after deployment do not pay enough to afford the costs of buying a home, and in some markets and for some occupations, veterans cannot afford the costs of renting a modest rental home," said Laura Williams, author of the latest edition of Paycheck to Paycheck, in a news release.


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed new disclosures to be given to borrowers after they apply for loans and three days before closing.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jul 11, 2012 2:04PM

Couple signing mortgage application (© Corbis)The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has come up with new mortgage-disclosure forms and hopes they will provide consumers with better information before they take out a home loan.


But the challenge of making these complex issues simple is reflected in the size of the proposed rule: It's 1,099 pages.


"When making what is likely the biggest purchase of their life, consumers should be looking at paperwork that clearly lays out the terms of the deal," said Richard Cordray, CFPB director, in a news release. "Our proposed redesign of the federal mortgage forms provides much-needed transparency in the mortgage market and gives consumers greater power over the exciting and daunting process of buying a home."

Tags: loans

Celebrities and business travelers like enough space for their staff and entourage. What can you get for that price? A lot.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jul 11, 2012 12:03PM

$150,000-per-month rental in Malibu, Calif. Courtesy of Realtor.comWe've all likely heard that rents are rising.


As CNBC reports, demand is rising for that perfect $100,000-a-month place. Yes, again, we are reminded that the rich are different from you and me.


Most of those $100,000 rentals are short-term leases. The customers are celebrities, businesspeople and international travelers.


The affluent Miami suburb of Coral Gables has prohibited the overnight parking of pickup trucks for decades. Now the voters will decide whether to keep the ban.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jul 10, 2012 3:21PM

The voters in the affluent Miami suburb of Coral Gables will face one of their biggest decisions in decades in this fall's elections: Should homeowners be allowed to park pickup trucks in their driveways?


The 52-year-old ban on pickups has been one of the city's most controversial issues for years. Four times, residents have taken the city to court, and four times, they have lost. The issue is so contentious that city commissioners decided to put it to the voters rather than decide themselves.



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