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Luxury real estate brokerage Douglas Elliman to purchase Beverly ... - Los Angeles Times

Luxury brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate, a well-known New York firm that entered the L.A. market less than four years ago, has agreed to purchase Teles Properties in a bid to expand in California as the state’s housing market booms.

Teles, a local rival based in Beverly Hills, has offices throughout Southern California. When Douglas Elliman completes the acquisition, the combined firm will have 20 offices and 630 sales associates within the state — a dramatic expansion from Elliman’s single location in Beverly Hills.

A purchase price for the deal, expected to close in August, was not disclosed.

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Legally Renege On Your Mortgage

July 27, 2017

Congratulations! You just signed the closing papers on your mortgage loan.

Terrifying, isn't it? Are you having second thoughts about your decision?

If you have just signed the closing papers for a home purchase, it's too late. You have made your commitment. However, in some cases with refinancing or a home equity line of credit (HELOC), you have a short rescission period in which you may back out of the deal without penalty.

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Does the American Dream no longer include homeownership?

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U.S. home sales to foreigners surge 49% to new record

Foreigners and recent immigrants spent $153 billion buying American homes over the course of the last year, according to the National Association of Realtors.
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Today's Headlines: Credit Scores Drop For Mortgage Refinances

July 11, 2017

Opening Up the Housing Market

According to a recent report by The Urban Institute, mortgage credit is coming into reach for a growing number of Americans. The median credit score associated with home mortgages backed by primary mortgage purchasers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dropped from 742 to 725 between June 2016 and April 2017, resulting in the lowest median value since the housing crisis.

At the same time, Fannie and Freddie are altering one of the primary criteria for potential mortgage borrowers. Both agencies are increasing the acceptable limit on debt-to-income ratio (DTI), the percentage of your gross income devoted to paying off your monthly debts, from 45% to 50%. In essence, lenders are willing to cut you more slack on your debt load when evaluating your ability to repay a mortgage.

On the surface, this is good news for the housing market. A lower median credit score and greater debt tolerance opens up the housing market to more potential homebuyers, helping to spur market growth. However, each factor has secondary considerations that may blunt the positive effects.

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What Is A HARP Loan?

June 30, 2017

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is one of the two key programs established by the federal government to help homeowners affected by the recent subprime mortgage crisis. The beneficiaries of these two programs are those whose home values have fallen below their mortgage amounts (commonly known as being "underwater"). These two programs target homeowners who are:

Defaulting on Payments – The Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) was created for homeowners who had missed payments and were in imminent danger of foreclosure. This program expired on December 31, 2016.Current on Payments – In this case, you have sufficient financial means to avoid foreclosure, but aren't able to secure refinancing to lower payments or save on interest. This is where HARP may be music to your ears.

Although the primary target is the underwater homeowner, you don't have to be underwater to qualify. However, you can't delay too long – the program is scheduled to end on September 30, 2017.

The point of the HARP program is to reward homeowners who have made their payments diligently with the opportunity to refinance under better loan terms than they would be able to get with their current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. The refinancing does not reduce your principal amount, but it may result in lower monthly payments, or in the same payments with a savings on interest over the life of the loan. If you want to reduce your interest payments and lower your debt, try the free Debt Optimizer by MoneyTips.

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7 first-time homebuyer mistakes to avoid

It's tough being a first-time buyer in today's housing market. Don't make it even harder (or more expensive) for yourself by making these common mistakes.
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4 costs you haven't factored into your homebuying budget

Out-of-pocket costs that crop up during the homebuying process, or even when you're moving in, can put an unexpected strain on your already-hurting bank account.
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Home prices are sky high, but mortgages are still cheap

Home prices have reached another record high, and buyers are feeling the pressure. But there has been one saving grace for buyers: mortgage rates.
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7 Ways To Reduce Your Mortgage

June 19, 2017

For most homeowners, mortgage costs are the largest regular expense in the family budget. How can you manage those costs in the most efficient way? We offer a few suggestions for reducing either short- or long-term mortgage expenses to fit your needs.

1. Refinancing – According to Casey Fleming, Mortgage Advisor at C2 Financial and author of The Loan Guide, "When you are refinancing a mortgage, the most important thing is to identify what your goals are."

Do you want to accept a longer loan term and higher total costs over the time of the loan to minimize your monthly payment? Are you interested in the opposite path of shortening your loan term to pay off your loan more quickly and save on total costs?

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