Can't put 20 percent down? You still have options for affording a home loan.

By MSN Real Estate partner Aug 25, 2014 11:54AM

Fancy/AlamyBy Scott Sheldon,


Looking to get your foot in the door (of your new home)? If you're a renter who's tired of paying someone else's mortgage, now may be the time to pursue the American dream of

homeownership. In fact, the days of needing a 20 percent down payment are long gone. While you can always elect to put down the full 20 percent or more, there are now many alternatives available. Here's what you want to know if buying a house is in your future.

In the mortgage industry, 20 percent down is considered the benchmark down payment for looking strong on paper as a homebuyer. While this a general standard for financial strength, it is by no means a requirement, nor is it necessarily expected.


Figures suggest market for newly constructed houses remains in lull.

By MSN Partner Aug 25, 2014 6:34AM

Image: Home for sale © Digital Vision Ltd.By Eric Morath and Sarah Portlock, The Wall Street Journal

WSJNew-home sales fell again in July, a sign that a major source of jobs continues to waver entering the second half of 2014.

Sales of new single-family houses declined 2.4% from June (pdf) to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 412,000, the Commerce Department said Monday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted a July sales pace of 425,000.

Tags: buying

Generally, distressed properties come at a 14 percent discount -- but some sell for more than market value, RealtyTrac says.

By MSN Real Estate partner Aug 22, 2014 9:53AM

moodboard/Getty ImagesBy Jerry Kronenberg, MainStreet


Many Americans assume that homes facing foreclosure sell for deep discounts, but a detailed analysis of some 4 million recent sales shows that certain kinds of distressed properties actually fetch as much as 19 percent above market value on average.


"It's definitely counterintuitive," says Daren Blomquist of market watcher RealtyTrac, which conducted the study.


RealtyTrac looked at what millions of distressed and nondistressed homes sold for during the 12 months ended March 31 and compared that with each property's estimated market value based on location, lot size and other characteristics.


Overall house flipping is cooling off, but turning houses quickly for sale in pricey neighborhoods still can offer hefty profits.

By MSN Partner Aug 22, 2014 9:40AM

Post starts below video.


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

By MSN Real Estate partner Aug 22, 2014 7:45AM

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 Aug 21, 2014 11:41AM

 © 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 Aug 21, 2014 11:01AM

© 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 Aug 21, 2014 9:54AM

Watch the video analysis from The Wall Street Journal below:

Tags: loans


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