Attracting the right buyers takes more than just opening your front door.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 7:45 AM

Big Cheese Photo/Getty ImagesBy AJ Smith,


Fortunately for sellers, home values are generally on the rise and interest rates remain historically low, making this a great time to put your house on the market in many parts of the country.

Finding a buyer is an important step in the process, and there are some simple steps sellers can take to increase the chances of finding one. If you're trying to sell your home yourself, you have a few important things to take care of first. An open house is a one opportunity to find potential buyers interested in your property. Its popularity has waned a bit because of online home tours and concerns about home security, but open houses are still one of the tools sellers use to find potential buyers.


Investors who lost cash in the mortgage-backed securities at issue may not receive much.

By MSN Real Estate partner Thu 11:41 AM

 © Medio Images/SuperStockBy Dan Freed,


Bank of America's settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over fraudulent mortgage securities the bank sold to investors is less punitive than the $16.65 billion price tag suggests and does not address the wrongs it purports to remedy.


As was the case with a $13 billion JPMorgan Chase settlement in November and a $7 billion settlement with Citigroup last month, the Bank of America settlement will include a multibillion non-cash component.


While the $9.65 billion cash figure is higher than the $9 billion that sources described to TheStreet earlier this month, it nonetheless would give the bank $7 billion in credit for modifying mortgages that may already have been in its best interest to modify.

Tags: loans

In areas such as L.A., a big chunk of your pay check goes toward housing costs.

By MSN Real Estate partner Thu 11:01 AM

© CPA, Flickr, Getty ImagesBy Diana Olick, CNBC


Mortgage rates last week hit their lowest level of the year and are significantly lower than they were last summer, but that is not helping potential homebuyers in some local markets who are facing sticker shock. Home prices took a dramatic jump last year, fueled by all-cash investors on the low end of the market. While the gains are finally easing, much of the damage has already been done.


The least affordable markets in the U.S. today are all in California, according to a new report from Zillow, a real estate company (read the report here). In Los Angeles, it takes nearly 43 percent of the average resident's income to afford just the median-priced home. It is not much better in San Francisco, or in San Diego.


The bank agreed to pay the largest settlement ever between the US and a single company over its mortgage lending.

By MSN Partner Thu 9:54 AM

Watch the video analysis from The Wall Street Journal below:

Tags: loans

The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.1 percent this week, down from 4.12 percent.

By MSN Real Estate partner Thu 8:52 AM

© Exactostock/SuperStockBy Prashant Gopal, Bloomberg


Mortgage rates in the U.S. dropped for a second week, sending 30-year borrowing costs to the lowest point for 2014.


The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.1 percent, down from 4.12 percent, Freddie Mac said in a statement on Thursday. The average 15-year rate slipped to 3.23 percent from 3.24 percent, according to the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage-finance company.


The 30-year rate was last this low at the end of October. It has declined from a two-year high of 4.58 percent last August, helping support home demand. Previously owned houses sold at an annualized rate of 5.15 million in July, up 2.4 percent from the previous month and the most since September, the National Association of Realtors said on Thursday.

Tags: loans

As existing-home sales touch highest point since September, the share of foreclosures may indicate better market health.

By MSN Real Estate partner Thu 7:59 AM

 © Andy Dean / AlamyBy Nick Timiraos, The Wall Street Journal


Thursday's home-sales report offers the clearest evidence that the housing market is moving out of the emergency ward and into a rehab facility. But the big question right now is how long it will stay in that recovery unit.


The National Association of Realtors reported that home sales rose for the fourth straight month in July to the highest seasonally adjusted annual rate since last September.


But the real sign that the housing market is out of critical condition comes courtesy of a separate survey the NAR does of its members.


The New York city's program may have a few strings attached, however.

By MSN Real Estate partner Wed 1:24 PM

© Tetra Images, Getty ImagesBy Megan Friedman, Country Living


You can be a homeowner for as little as one dollar. Sound too good to be true? Well it is, kind of.


The city of Buffalo, New York, is putting old, abandoned homes on the market for just a buck — but the cost of repairs could equal the price of a typical home.


The city’s Urban Homestead Program will give you the great deal as long as you promise to fix the place up and live there for at least three years. You’ll have to cover closing fees as well. But by doing so, you’re saving a historic home from being demolished. Cities like Philadelphia, Detroit, and Gary, Indiana, also have similar programs in place.


Deal with Justice Department could be announced as early as Thursday.

By MSN Partner Wed 1:13 PM

Bank of America branch in Atlanta, Ga. © David Goldman/APBy Devlin Barrett and Christina Rexrode, The Wall Street Journal

WSJBank of America Corp. is expected to pay nearly $17 billion to settle U.S. Department of Justice accusations it packaged shoddy mortgages into securities and sold them to investors in the run-up to the financial crisis, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.


The agreement, which could come as early as Thursday, would mark the biggest settlement between the U.S. government and a single company. The roughly $17 billion will be a combination of cash and consumer aid – an amount approximately equal to the bank's profit for the past three years.

Tags: loans


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