Fannie Mae is increasing the add-on fees it charges borrowers. Some will pay thousands more.
You've been incredibly responsible in your quest to buy a home. You have top credit scores and have saved an enormous pile of money as a down payment, almost 25%.
Fannie Mae wants to charge you more to get a mortgage.
That's right. Fannie Mae, the government-backed mortgage provider, is increasing the fees it charges borrowers. Those fees, called add-ons, can add thousands of dollars to the cost of getting a mortgage. Even those with stellar credit and large down payments aren't exempt.
Syndicated columnist Kenneth R. Harney provides two examples, using hypothetical buyers seeking a $300,000 first mortgage:
- Buyer 1 has a FICO score of just over 800 and has saved almost 25% for a down payment. Fannie Mae will charge an extra one-quarter percentage point of the loan amount, or $750, up from zero under the old rules.
- Buyer 2 has a FICO score of 679 and not quite 20% down. Fannie Mae plans to charge an extra 2.75% in fees. That's $8,250, up from $1,500 under the old rules.
These are not the only add-ons. As Harney explains, "Every perceived risk factor in a loan transaction receives its own separate add-on fee, all of which gets totaled up for your final loan charges."
Young people don't want their parents' dream houses. Instead, they want smaller homes in walkable neighborhoods.
You know all those idyllic suburban developments with cul-de-sacs and lakes and nearly identical houses, far away from the noise of urban life?
Gen Y doesn't want to live in one.
We're not surprised to hear that the dream houses of the younger generation don't include formal living rooms, but we are stunned to hear they don't want soaker tubs. The young home seekers on HGTV always want soaker tubs.
According to speakers at the National Association of Home Builders conference in Orlando, Fla., this week, members of Gen Y want to be able to walk to stores and restaurants and maybe even to work. They agree with a study that finds walkability increases home value.
What else does Gen Y want in a home? This is WSJ.com's synopsis of the comments of Tony Weremeichik of Canin Associates, an Orlando architecture firm:
"Smaller rooms and fewer cavernous hallways to get everywhere, a bigger shower stall and skip the tub, he said. Oh, but don’t forget space in front of the television for the Wii, and space to eat meals while glued to the tube, because dinner parties and families gathered around the table are so last-gen. And maybe a little nook in the laundry room for Rover’s bed?"
Gen Y also wants outdoor space, but not too much. They don't want to mow the lawn. They also like developments with amenities such as fitness centers, game rooms and party rooms.
KB Home teams up with style icon to unveil an affordable, net-zero-energy concept home.
If you are tired of seeing the "green" label being slapped on everything and, like many Americans, suffer from "green fatigue," you might not be impressed with Martha Stewart and KB Home’s newest partnership. But if you are an environmentally conscious homebuyer and die-hard fan of the domestic doyenne, you might want to hold off on the eye rolls. (Bing: What makes a home green?)
The 2,669-square-foot, LEED Platinum-certified concept home unveiled in Windermere, Fla. — in conjunction with the International Builders' Show in nearby Orlando — definitely has Stewart's style stamped all over it. What's noteworthy is that it doesn’t have the luxury price tag generally associated with the style icon or eco-friendly homes.
For only $380,000 it has an impressive array of green features: It’s built as a net-zero-energy home -- meaning that it produces more energy than it consumes -- with 9-kilowatt solar panels integrated into the roof’s concrete tiles, energy-efficient appliances, a rainwater collection system and a composting bin recessed in the kitchen counter. It also features an electric-car charging station in the garage, a sophisticated computer system that monitors the home’s energy expenditures, and environmentally responsible building materials. And not surprisingly, the rooms are painted with Stewart’s collection of paints low in volatile organic compounds.
Take a peek at and learn more about the KB Home GreenHouse here. And if you’re in the Orlando area, you can also stop by — the home is open for guided tours as part of the builders show.
The first thing noticeable about the home is its conventional exterior. It doesn’t scream "green" or look anything like these homes, but is rather predictable with a big garage and driveway façade that would fit comfortably in most suburban communities.
Housing bargains may be plentiful, but an affordable home is not necessarily a good investment. Here’s where those looking for rental income should invest in 2011, and where they should avoid.
Residents of California’s Central Valley have felt the pain of the housing crisis as acutely as any area in the nation. While Detroit and Cleveland may come first to mind when considering the decade’s economic malaise, California’s agricultural center suffered the boom and bust of the real-estate market in the 2000s just as severely.
As home prices skyrocketed during the first part of the decade in San Francisco, homebuyers flocked east to Sacramento and neighboring communities in search of affordable housing. The boom didn’t last long. Unemployment and crime combined to make the area a downright depressing place to live for some.
Stockton, Calif., an inland seaport south of Sacramento, was particularly hard hit. Many city rankings that focused on the negative had Stockton near the top of the list. Most dangerous cities? Check. Most miserable cities? Stockton had the honor of placing first or second two years running. Just last week, "Listed" covered a report that said Stockton was at risk of becoming a new type of ghost town.
So could there finally be good news for homebuyers in Stockton? A new report from Zillow indicates the downtrodden town might be ripe for investors looking to get into the rental market in 2011.
The rise of electric vehicles could change the way garages are built, configured and used.
Just named the 2011 North American Car of the Year, Chevrolet's electric Volt may be the toast of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week. But its impact also is stretching south to the National Association of Home Builders' International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla., where car-charging stations will be among the hottest new home products on display tomorrow through Saturday.
Might that be presumptuous for the housing industry's largest annual trade show, considering that electric vehicles such as the Volt and Nissan Leaf really have been available for only the past month? Not necessarily, according to Consumer Reports:
With the federal government vowing to get 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015, these plug-in charging stations (the technical term is electric vehicle supply equipment, or EVSE) should be showing up in more residences all over the country.
In short, as early adoption gives way to mainstream appeal for these low-emission, environment-focused vehicles, they could change U.S. garage design the same way internal-combustion engines changed roads. Is your garage ready?
Other states could follow Friday’s decision against 2 banks.
On Friday, the Massachusetts high court upheld a lower court ruling that Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp did not have proper paperwork to foreclose on those homes. (Bing:Massachusetts foreclosure ruling)
Though the exact impact of the case remains to be seen, bank stocks remained under pressure Monday.
As CNBC’s Diana Olick explains, whether Massachusetts’ law is unique is not yet known, but there is likely to be continued fallout. "This may be the final Massachusetts court ruling, but it will not be the final word in this chapter of the foreclosure mess."
What we can learn from the real-estate foibles of the rich and famous.
Perhaps it is a case of massschadenfreude or a needed escape from the bleak prospects of our own pursuit of the American dream. (Bing:Celebrity foreclosures)
Well, whatever the motivation, there is no shortage of fodder that we at Listed offer up as a public service to our hungry readers.
Researcher says towns like Stockton, Calif., may never completely bounce back from the housing bust.
But a new report says that not all ghost towns are alike and that their recovery may depend on what sent them over the "tipping point." (Bing:How to find foreclosures.)
James Follain of the Research Institute for Housing America says while the traditional declining cities like Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo, N.Y., are seeing jobs disappearing and people fleeing, a new type of ghost town is emerging.