Welcome to a new era in home borrowing, where long-term mortgages and home equity loans are taking their place alongside AARP cards and pension checks as never before. About 25% of all Americans over age 65 have yet to pay off their home loans, up from 11% in 1983, according to a Boston College analysis of Federal Reserve Board data.
For many older homeowners, the decision to carry housing debt deeper into their twilight years is by choice. They see their homes â€” rather than savings accounts â€” as piggy banks that can be tapped through home equity loans or refinancings to provide ready cash. But the trend also reflects sober realities, including lifestyle changes from an earlier, more debt-averse era. People who marry or remarry in middle age often find themselves making down payments on a home at a stage in life when their own parents had already paid off the mortgage. Others are able to pay off their mortgages, but opt to refinance to help make ends meet in retirement â€” pushing their debt deep into old age. Continue reading “Fewer Elderly Paying Off Mortgages”
Three dozen [tag]South Florida home builders[/tag] and real estate agents mingled last week at Buster’s Bar & Grill in downtown Delray Beach. Standing only feet apart, they shouted pleasantries over the deafening din of Elton John’s Rocket Man and Steve Miller’s Fly Like An Eagle. The music might have been more appropriate during the past few years when the housing market was soaring. Now it’s falling, leaving industry observers to count the casualties.
With mortgage applications declining this year, Washington Mutual and Countrywide Home Loans closed offices in Lake Worth and Sunrise, respectively. Washington Mutual, the nation’s largest [tag]savings and loan[/tag], laid off 1,400 people in Florida and Washington. Real estate industries nationwide once were adding 35,000 to 40,000 jobs a month, but growth in those sectors has flattened, Economy.com’s Zandi said. He expects job declines during the next six months, especially because surveys indicate builders are showing less confidence than they did a year ago. Continue reading “Builders, real estate firms feel market’s decline”
Staging a house helps it sell, but who should pay for it?
From a non-existent profession a generation or so ago, [tag]home stagers[/tag] have become a force to be reckoned with in the [tag]real estate[/tag] industry. Stagers claim they turn sow’s ears into silk purses every day, and make pots of money for their clients. Just what is home staging and what does it involve? And shouldn’t the cost of staging come out of the agent’s commission rather than the seller’s profits?
Before [tag]home staging[/tag] began, in the early 1970s, most real estate agents thought showing houses vacant was best. But Schwarz thought empty rooms looked small and cold; she started to put a few pieces of furniture in to make them more welcoming. “Every room should have two things,” says Schwarz, “grounded furniture and leggy furniture. If it’s all grounded, like sofas with upholstery that extends to the floor, it sinks the room. If it’s all leggy, like tables, the room floats.” Another technique she exploits is what she calls the “magic of three,” assembling furnishings and decorations in “vignettes” containing three objects, one tall, one medium and one short. Continue reading “Profiting from staging”