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Houston Real Estate Blogosphere
Houston Real Estate Blogosphere brings together all the blog posts of REALTORS from the Houston area in one place
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Safety & Security

The most recently published posts in the Safety & Security category
Cutting back unnecessary energy use is an easy way to keep your hard earned money in your pocket. Here are some suggestions you can do at home this winter, at absolutely no cost to you. Let the sunshine in. Open drapes and let the sun heat your home for free (get them closed again at sundown so they help insulate). Rearrange your rooms. Move your furniture around so you are sitting near inte...
Read Post [Posted on 01/29/2015 By John Askins]
Housing experts warn of a new concern for home owners: resetting home equity lines of credit. Home equity lines of credit often require low payments in the initial years as home owners only pay the interest on these loans at the onset. But later on, these loans reset with higher payments when home owners have to start paying down the principal. About 44 percent of home owners with home equit...
Read Post [Posted on 01/26/2015 By John Askins]
When it comes to mortgages and home improvement, many consumers have some complaints, according to a survey by the Consumer Federation of America, which reveals the top consumer complaints. Among its list of top “worst” consumer gripes: mortgage-related problems, home improvement, timeshare sales and resales, Internet sales, and fraud. Many of the mortgage complaints have stemmed...
Read Post [Posted on 01/24/2015 By John Askins]
Findings from a Woodstock Institute study of 257,000 purchase loans and refinancings originated in the Chicago area indicate that gender bias may play a role in denials. Based on Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, researchers found that purchase applications with a woman as the primary borrower and a man as the co-borrower were 24 percent less likely to be approved than if a man applied as the ...
Read Post [Posted on 01/19/2015 By John Askins]
Home owners have been duped out of an average of $4,000 to $5,000 from scams, but even five-figure losses aren’t uncommon for those who have fallen prey to fake loan modifications and other housing fraud. Forbes highlighted three of the most common real estate scams today: 1. Rental scams: Scammers illegally pull online listing information from a home for sale and re-post it as a ...
Read Post [Posted on 01/17/2015 By John Askins]
Which states rank the highest as best places for children to live? The Kids Count Data Book by The Annie E. Casey Foundation ranked 50 U.S. states based on social, health, and economic factors affecting children. Each state was given a score based on such factors as infant mortality rates, child and teen death rate, percentage of children in school, and the number of children below the poverty ...
Read Post [Posted on 01/15/2015 By John Askins]
Property taxes are an important source of revenue for city governments, but rates can vary substantially across the country.  Property taxes make up about one quarter of home ownership costs over the median duration of ownership, according to a study by two researchers with the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.  The study’s authors—Benjamin H. Harris, policy director o...
Read Post [Posted on 01/11/2015 By John Askins]
The U.S. Taxpayer Advocate has officially complained to Congress that the IRS is harming taxpayers when it imposes tax liens on homes. National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson reported that IRS agents only consider income and expenses—not other debts—when sizing up a delinquent taxpayer’s ability to pay. Research from Olson’s office also shows that tax liens do...
Read Post [Posted on 01/11/2015 By John Askins]
Houses that will sit empty through the winter need attention to avoid frozen pipes, reports Long Island American Water, which is part of American Water, the largest investor-owned U.S. water and waste water utility company. The company offers these tips for ensuring that pipes don’t burst: · Search for pipes that are not insulated, or that pass through unheated spaces such as craw...
Read Post [Posted on 01/10/2015 By John Askins]
Some foreclosed home owners take out their anger on the homes they are forced to leave behind, smashing holes in the walls, scribbling graffiti everywhere, leaving piles of trash, and ripping out appliances. More banks -- facing a growing problem from trashed foreclosures -- are opting to offer homes at big discounts rather than fix the repairs, which can send surrounding home values in the nei...
Read Post [Posted on 01/10/2015 By John Askins]
Watch for skeletons in the closet, literally. More real estate professionals are reporting making horrifying finds in abandoned, foreclosed homes, including the skeletons of the home’s former owners.  A Milwaukee real estate agent reported finding the body of the deceased owner on the stairs in an abandoned home. The body of the owner, who authorities say committed suicide, was be...
Read Post [Posted on 01/10/2015 By John Askins]
Many defendants accused of nonviolent crimes often use their home as collateral to post bail. However, nowadays using your home as a “get out of jail” card may be more difficult.  With many home owners still underwater on their mortgages, more bail-bond agents are turning down offers to use homes as collateral.  A.J. Pontillo, owner of A.J.'s Bail Bonds in Modesto, ...
Read Post [Posted on 01/09/2015 By John Askins]
The majority of Americans say they are living in less-than-ideal housing and neighborhoods. The Demand Institute recently polled more than 10,000 households — both renters and home owners — across income levels to find their top unfulfilled housing needs and desires. "The biggest overarching thing is that when it comes to their homes, there are still a lot of things that Americ...
Read Post [Posted on 01/07/2015 By John Askins]
New homes have been found to burn much faster than older homes due to a change in building materials the last decade. The increased use of prefabricated, lightweight construction materials in new-homes today has caused homes to burn and collapse faster than homes that use traditional solid-wood frame construction, firefighters and fire safety groups say. Yet, California and Maryland remain the ...
Read Post [Posted on 01/04/2015 By John Askins]
Rental costs have continued to rise, outpacing stagnant salaries and widening the affordability gap, according to a new study by DePaul University.   "After the housing crisis, households shifted to renting for a number of reasons," says Geoff Smith, co-author of a study on the affordability gap and executive director of DePaul University’s Institute for Housing Studies. &q...
Read Post [Posted on 12/29/2014 By John Askins]
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