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FTC Approves Zillow-Trulia Merger

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After months of investigation, the FTC gives Zillow its blessing to merge with Trulia. See what the deal could mean for online real estate ad prices.

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Fournier Law Firm Makes Getting a Real Estate Transfer Stamp Easy as 1-2-3

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Fournier Law Firm takes the hassle out of obtaining a real estate transfer stamp. We prepare the paperwork, deliver it and even pre-pay for the stamp. Get the full details here.

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FHA to Give Reverse Mortgages a Facelift Later This Month

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In an effort to change the public’s perception of reverse mortgages, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will implement new requirements designed to protect homeowners and “ensure that reverse mortgages are used for their intended purpose.” Beginning April 27, borrowers will need to meet new income and credit requirements in order to qualify for a reverse mortgage. In particular, borrowers must show that they are willing and able to continue paying the property taxes and insurance on their homes. In an article for HousingWire, Phil Stevenson, a certified reverse mortgage professional, said the changes will be good for the industry and for senior borrowers. “We will see a shift from the negative label of using it to avoid foreclosure or losing your home towards a stronger retirement planning tool, like my grandparents did,” he explained.

To learn more, read the entire article.

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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Agree on Relaxed Lending Rules forHome Mortgage Loan

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New lending rules drafted by mortgage powerhouses Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should make it easier for home buyers with less-than-perfect credit to obtain financing. The new lending guidelines, which are expected to be announced soon according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, should encourage lenders to approve home loans for the average consumer whose credit score took a slight hit in the wake of The Great Recession. Among the benefits consumers can expect from the relaxed guidelines is a reduction in the minimum down payment from 5% to 3%.

To learn about other anticipated changes, read the entire
article
:

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Can a Tablet Boost Your Real Estate Sales?

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If you’ve been looking for a legitimate reason to splurge on an iPad or Surface Pro 3, a new article published by RealtorMag suggests the purchase is less of a luxury than you might think. In fact, for on-the-go real estate agents, a tablet is becoming an essential tool of the trade that more than pays for itself in increased productivity. Whether you use it to pull up detailed property listings for clients on the spot or to help navigate your way to meetings in the field, a tablet is the next best thing to carrying your desktop computer around with you.

Read the entire article here.

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Chicago Ranks Among Top 10 Markets to Experience Double-Digit Decrease in Housing Inventory

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With a 22.8% decrease in home listings since September 2013, Chicago is among 33 markets that have significantly fewer homes available for sale. This finding, which is based on the September National Housing Trend Report released this month by realtor.com, may signal a need for new home construction in the Chicagoland area to help alleviate the inventory shortage and give sellers more housing options. Other cities experiencing a similar crunch in housing inventory include Las Vegas, San Jose, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio while some markets like Honolulu, Orlando, Miami, and Charleston, West Virginia are seeing a double-digit growth in inventory.

Read the full article.

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Chicagoland Home Sales Fall Short of National Trend

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Home sales in the Chicago area are not enjoying the same positive sales trend as other markets around the country. Last month, home sales on a national level increased by 2.2 percent year-over-year according to the latest Redfin report. However, in Chicagoland, sales actually took a dive 3.5 percent during the same period. An article in the Chicago Business Journal seeks to understand the reasons behind the negative trend. One possible cause offered by Redfin real estate agent David Yocum is the weather. He says during February and March of this year, when he is typically busy, Chicago home sales were slow due to unusually bad weather.

Read the entire article entire article
for other reasons behind the trend.

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Chicagoland Real Estate Market Considered Affordable

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A new affordability report has been issued by RealtyTrac that discusses the success that some real estate markets have experienced in rebounding after the housing crisis. Some areas have rebounded nicely from the housing crisis with some areas surpassing their averages pre-crisis.  For Cook County, the report revealed that prices are low relative to information available for past performance.  In other words, real estate in the Chicagoland area is considered affordable when compared to other data.

For the full article read, “New Report Talks Chicagoland Affordability.

Image credit:  Mark
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Commercial Realtors React to Tax Reform Efforts to Repeal 1031 Exchanges

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Commercial realtors are weighing in on aggressive lobby efforts to repeal 1031 exchanges. The proposed 2015 tax reform would close the loophole that allows businesses and investors to defer the payment of capital gains tax on property swapped in a “like-kind” exchange. For many commercial realtors, these transactions represent 30 percent of their business. If Congress passes reform legislation that eliminates the tax deferment, commercial realtors say sellers will be more reluctant to sell their properties. The issue is so important to the health of the commercial real estate industry that realtors are reaching out to legislators to voice their concerns.
Learn more about this issue here
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Congress Approves Short Sale Tax Break for Struggling Homeowners

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Congress revives the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which offers short sellers a welcome tax break for the holidays. Get the full details here.

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