Monthly Archives: October 2015

How to reach the #Millennial first-time homebuyer | Pound Ridge Real Estate

The news is no longer “Millennials don’t want to buy homes.”

They do. So how are you going to get them there?

HousingWire hosted its first editorial webinar on Wednesday, with expert panelists Ginger Wilcox, chief industry officer with Sindeo, Joe Caltabiano, senior vice president of Mortgage Lending with Guaranteed Rate and Tim Anderson director of eServices withDocMagic to answer the question.

The topic: How to reach the Millennial first-time homebuyer. Here’s a direct link to purchase the webinar presentation.

The three bring over 60 years of experience in all aspects of the industry and gave a full range of tips on what does and doesn’t work when it comes to reaching Millennials.

Wilcox explained how the industry can better understand Millennials, giving her tips and insight on what does and doesn’t move them, along with their heightened need for transparency.

She gave the example that Millennials are living in a world of radical transparency, noting that we know the exact geographical location of out Uber driver and the exact status of our Dominos pizza in the creation process.

Meanwhile, Caltabiano dug into the issues that are creating a roadblock for Millennials, noting the importance of educating them on what is actually true.

While they are going online first to do their own research, he explained that the industry needs to make sure Millennials are looking at the latest information.

The market is changing on a daily basis, and it’s easy for someone to pull information from an outdated source.

Caltabiano stressed to loan officers who are marketing to young homeowners the importance knowing all the options out there for their clients, ranging anywhere from down payment options to loan options.

DocMagic wrapped up the webinar, touching on the rules and regulations that are consuming the industry.

With eMortgages becoming more normal, lenders need to be aware of what this looks like from the start to closing of the loan, along with how to approach Millennials about the change.


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The Best Triangle House Since The Pyramids | Bedford Corners Real Estate

Triangles, and the sloping ceilings they create, don’t make a natural fit for human habitation. But for his idyllic wooden house in rural Sweden,architect Leo Qvarsebo embraced the triangle, creating for himself a sloping isosceles of a summer home.

Positioned between a patch of woodland and a green pastures, the Qvarsebo Summerhouse was designed like a triangle to give stunning, unobstructed views of an idyllic vista in Dalarna. Large windows frame the landscape on three separate floors, while the front of the building opens up to a gorgeous terrace, including a swing set for Qvarsebo’s children.

Qvarsebo says that despite the fact it isn’t very close to any trees, he thinks of it as a treehouse for adults. As such, there’s a rope connected to the peak of the roof, so he and his kids can scale the facade. Even inside, though, climbing the home’s central staircase is meant to feel like a treehouse. “The climb to the top is via several levels and offers both views and privacy,” he says. “From each level of the house you can see up to the next, creating a curiosity to continue to climb and once you’re up, the view is breathtaking.”


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How do you know if your house is haunted? | #Chappaqua Real Estate

spooky haunted house

There’s a simple way to find out what’s gone down in your house. But are you sure you want to know? (Photo: Balazs Kovacs Images/Shutterstock)

Maybe there’s something creepy about the way your stairs creak when no one is walking on them. Or maybe that new house you’re considering buying gives you chills and you don’t know why.

You don’t need to consult a psychic or a Ouija board. A new website,, will search for murders, suicides, and accidental or natural deaths at any U.S. address. But that’s not all. Your $11.99 fee will also cover a search for any fires or meth lab activity that occurred at the location. (How practical!)

According to the website, the company has a database of 4.5 million houses that were the site of confirmed deaths, and that number is growing at a pace of about 500,000 per year. This takes the guesswork out of figuring out if anyone expired where you live or where you want to live.

Although most people would want to know about any in-house deaths, few states have laws requiring disclosure of deaths or crime to prospective purchasers. For example, according to Bloomberg, the state Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled last year that “psychological stigmas” such as deaths don’t need to be disclosed at all. It’s the same story in Massachusetts, where state law allows sellers to keep quiet about “alleged para psychological or supernatural phenomenon.”

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Pending #Homes Sales Down Again | Armonk Real Estate

Although the Pending Home Sales Index decreased for the second consecutive month in September to its second lowest reading in 2015, the PHSI has increased year-over-year for 13 consecutive months. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by theNational Association of Realtors (NAR), decreased 2.3% in September to 106.8 from a downwardly revised 109.3 in August. However, the PHSI is up 3.0% from September a year ago.

Pending Home Sales September 2015

The PHSI declined in all four regions in September, ranging from 0.2% in the West to 4.0% in the Northeast. Year- over-year, The West, Midwest and Northeast were up, ranging from 6.6% in the West to 3.9% in the Northeast. The South reported a small 0.1% decline from last September.

Although the PHSI declined the past two months, existing sales increased in September. Coming just three days after a surprisingly weak new home sales report for September, NAR attributed the PHSI decline to the “stubbornly-low inventory.” However, disappointing job creation numbers in August and September suggest the decline is a demand-side issue. Despite these recent reports, builder confidence reached its highest level in ten years, painting the prospect of a good year for builders in 2016.


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Build a Zero-Waste Homestead | North Salem Real Estate

In your permaculture design, you want to shoot for a near-zero-waste system. That doesn’t have to happen overnight, but it is definitely a primary goal. If the systems you design are wasteful, they will forever be reliant on large quantities of external inputs to keep them running. Most lawns are like this. Without chemical fertilizers, city water, and gasoline to run the mower, they would very quickly cease to look the way they do.

Many of the external resources we rely on every day are nonrenewable (at least in a human timescale). Once we use them, they’re gone. Relying heavily on these resources for day-to-day operations means we are more susceptible to market fluctuations and supply chains, and thus less resilient. In an emergency the lawn can just grow and become weedy, but what happens when we rely heavily on external inputs for our food, water, and heat?

This chapter focuses on where leaks often appear in systems and how we can minimize them, thus eliminating waste. The idea is to integrate those surpluses (another name for waste considered from a different perspective) back into our systems in some way. For instance, if we produce compost, apples that go bad can’t really go to waste. If we apply the principle of efficient energy planning and the concept of next highest use, we don’t really waste energy. Overall, the goal is to manage the inflows and outflows of our systems. We aren’t going to create completely closed-loop systems (where nothing enters or leaves), but we want to get a lot closer to that than where we are right now. Ultimately, we want to be very conscious of how the outflows of our systems can be used as inflows. Any outflows we do end up with should not harm the environment nor our neighbors.

Types of waste to address in your design include human waste, greywater, food and yard waste, and heat. We have already explored some ways to turn food and yard waste into compost in the earlier chapter on soil fertility. We’ll look more closely at the other topics here.

Human Waste

The topic of managing human waste, also known as humanure, is pretty much considered taboo in Western culture. You don’t talk about it in polite company. However, it is imperative that we begin to take responsibility for the humanure we produce. Unfortunately, the centralized systems upon which many of us rely and conventional home septic systems do not score that well on their ecological report card. In many parts of the world, waste collected by municipal sewer systems is dumped into the ocean or injected into the groundwater. Even the municipal systems that are ecologically kinder often have enormous energy inputs. The amount of fresh, clean water wasted by these systems is staggering. Consider, for example, that the Colorado River no longer reaches the Gulf of Mexico, thanks partly to all the flush toilets in huge desert metropolises like Las Vegas and Phoenix.


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#Expandable #Home Is a Low-Cost Solution to Social Housing Shortage | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Image via Dezeen
Image via Dezeen

What can be done to help those underprivileged groups who cannot afford a home? Mexican female architect, Tatiana Bilbao, gives her answer with a presentation of her latest building prototype at the recent Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Image via Dezeen
Image via Dezeen

The house, about half the cost of a same-sized regular property, consists of a five-meter-high living and dining area, kitchen, bathroom, and two bedrooms. The home has a concrete block core and wooden pallet modules in the surrounding rooms, which allows flexibility to add up to five additional bedrooms. Such a design makes it quick and easy to adapt the house for different layouts to fit into a specific lot. At its smallest, the house takes up an area of 463 square feet, which meets the minimum federal requirement.

Image via Dezeen
Image via Dezeen

The flexible, expandable house was commissioned by the Mexican government to address the country’s social housing shortage for people with low incomes, which has been a worsening yet neglected problem. There has been a housing shortage of as many as nine million homes in Mexico, but few architects have taken the initiative to address the urgent crisis, Bilbao told Dezeen in an interview.

Image via Dezeen
Image via Dezeen

“When we were commissioned to design this model, the first thing in my mind was that I wanted to give more space for the same money,” Bilbao said to Dezeen. Part of the modular system is done with an industrial palette, rather than some expensive strong materials, to save the budget and cut down the price for the customers, she explained.

Image via Dezeen
Image via Dezeen

Bilbao expected to have as many as 3,000 of these homes built per year, to meet the strong need of social housing in Mexico.


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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Takes Actions Against #Collection #Agencies | Cross River Real Estate

Encore Capital Group and Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) are two of the country’s largest debt buyers, a market that serves a crucial role in the proper functioning of consumer credit markets. Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has taken legal action against Encore and PRA for their illegal debt collection activities. In their process, Encore & PRA demanded payments and filed lawsuits on debts without reviewing the proper documentation to ensure they were collecting the accurate amount from the correct consumer.
In their legal actions, the CFPB is ordering Encore to refund up to $42 million to consumers, cease collection efforts on $125 million in debts, and pay a penalty of $10 million. Meanwhile, they are ordering PRA to refund $19 million to consumers, stop its collection of $3 million in debts, and pay a penalty of $8 million. In addition to these actions, the CFPB is hoping their orders will contribute towards reforming and improving the procedures taken in the debt collection field.
Typically, debt buyers purchase delinquent accounts for only a fraction of what the overall debt total would be; however, they still have the option to collect the full amount claimed by the original lender. In the investigation, Encore and PRA were found to have purchased over $200 billion in defaulted consumer debts on credit cards, phone bills, and other accounts. The issue here is that the debts bought were inaccurate or could not legally be enforced; something both debt buyers knew or should have known.
In the investigation, it was found that both companies knowingly and intentionally entered into these agreements after being notified of debts being faulty, seeing the contractual disclaimers, or being aware of consumer disputes. Both companies went on to make these purchases without obtaining important and accurate documentation, or even checking to ensure the debts were accurate and enforceable. Encore and PRA even bought debts that intentionally imposed significant limitations on access to account-level documents that would have helped verify the debts.
Even after the initial purchase, Encore and PRA used unlawful tactics and made misrepresentations in order to pressure consumers to pay their debts. PRA’s tactics included falsely informing consumers their accounts were reviewed by an attorney, falsely stating that there would be a pending litigation, and coaxing consumers into agreeing to receive auto-dialed calls to their cell phones. Meanwhile, Encore notified some consumers that debts were legally enforceable, when they were in fact too old to legally enforce. Both companies also collected debts by entering into lawsuits against consumers across different states, knowing they would win the majority by default if consumers were unable to defend themselves.
Due to the unlawful actions taken by both companies, in addition to them being the largest debt buyers in the country, Encore and PRA will have to lead the reform in practices taken in the debt buying field. These changes would include taking proper measurements to ensure debt being bought is accurate and enforceable, proper research and investigation is taken, and that any lawsuits filed must contain specific documents and information that is both accessible and shows the debt is accurate.
These actions taken by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are in hopes of ensuring there are legitimate and fair practices being taken in the debt buying marketplace, so as to keep consumers from being misled by companies like Encore Capital Group and Portfolio Recovery Associates. Does this mean there will be no illegal activity on the part of collection agencies moving forward?  Very unlikely…
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Please call us with credit questions or specific
credit report issues.

U.S. new homes sales near one-year low | Waccabuc Real Estate

New U.S. single-family home sales fell to near a one-year low in September after two straight months of gains, but a jump in prices suggested that housing remained on solid ground.

The Commerce Department said on Monday sales dropped 11.5percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000 units, the lowest level since November 2014. August’s sales pace was revised down to 529,000 units from the previously reported 552,000 units.

The moderation in new home sales is at odds with other housing reports that have painted a bullish picture of the sector. New home sales, which account for 7.8 percent of the housing market, tend to be volatile on a month-to-month basis because they are drawn from a small sample.

“The September report does little to alter our view that the housing market is continuing to recover. We view the new home sales data as unreliable and many other more reliable housing indicators have been sending upbeat signals lately,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan.

September data on existing home sales, homebuilder confidence and housing starts have been fairly strong.


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Why are new home sales slumping? | South Salem Real Estate

The rising cost of residential real estate and a slowdown in the U.S. economy is making it harder to sell a house.

10445Sales of new homes plunged in September to the slowest pace in 10 months, the U.S. Commerce Department said Monday, a sign that higher prices and sliding economic growth weigh on the housing market. New-home sales slumped 11.5 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000, the lowest level since November of 2014.

September’s drop ended a two-month streak of accelerating sales.

Monthly sales of new home often fluctuate sharply, and some forecasters cautioned against reading too much into the latest figures. Pointing to other indicators that show the sector continuing to rebound, such as the National Association of Home Builders’ housing activity index, economist Stephen Brown of Capital Economics said in a note that “we are confident that new home sales will rebound strongly in the coming months.”

Americans’ zeal for newly built homes took off this year, yet now appears close to having topped out. Solid hiring over the past three years has improved many family balance sheets, while rising home prices has returned equity to current homeowners now seeking to upgrade to new residential developments. Sales of new homes have soared 17.6 percent during the first nine months of 2015.

The median sales price of a new home rose 2.7 percent last month to $296,900, the highest price level this year, according to Oxford Economics.

But global pressures began to exert a downward pull on economic growth in recent months. Those pressures could be spread to the housing market if the drop in sales of new homes leads to a decline in construction.

“A stronger pace of sales will need to be seen for the recent stronger pace of single-family housing starts to be sustained,” said Ted Wieseman, an economist at Morgan Stanley.

Job gains slowed in September, while profit margins for many of the largest U.S. businesses with a global footprint stopped growing. The stronger dollar has punished exports abroad and cheaper oil prices have forced energy firms to cut workers and slash orders for pipeline and equipment.

The slowdown has yet to hit sales of existing homes as drastically, but the September pullback in newly built properties was severe.

Purchases of new homes slid in the Midwest, South and West, but plummeted a stiff 61.8 percent in the Northeast.

Prices have climbed sharply as well, making new construction less affordable for would-be buyers. The median new-home sales price has jumped 13.5 percent from a year ago to $296,900.



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New Home sales shrink 11.5% | Katonah Real Estate

Sales of new single-family houses in the United States shrank 11.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000 in September of 2015, the lowest since November last year. The stock of new houses for sale increased to its highest since March of 2010. New Home Sales in the United States averaged 654.25 Thousand from 1963 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 1389 Thousand in July of 2005 and a record low of 270 Thousand in February of 2011. New Home Sales in the United States is reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.


United States New Home Sales


Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
468.00 522.00 1389.00 270.00 1963 – 2015 Thousand Monthly
Volume, SA
A sale of the new house occurs with the signing of a sales contract or the acceptance of a deposit. The house can be in any stage of construction: not yet started, under construction, or already completed. This page provides the latest reported value for – United States New Home Sales – plus previous releases, historical high and low, short-term forecast and long-term prediction, economic calendar, survey consensus and news. Content for – United States New Home Sales – was last refreshed on Monday, October 26, 2015.
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