Monday, October 29, 2012

Some Useful Emergency Links for Sandy

Here's a new one for PSE&G tweeted updates on power restoration:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Outlook for Continued Western Drought

Forbes recently reported, "Droughts, floods, hurricanes and other extreme weather cost the U.S. economy at least $55 billion in 2011, according to NOAA, with 14 separate events exceeding $1 billion. The devastating drought and associated wildfires in Texas and Oklahoma alone cost American crop farmers $7.6 billion and the cotton and cattle industries around $5.4 billion."
(click on Graphic to enlarge it.)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

6 of the Most Common Errors in Your Credit Report

Your credit report tells the world a lot about you. What if it's saying something it shouldn't? Can you dispute your credit report?

The short answer is "yes." But before you raise that red flag, you should know about the types of errors that typically occur, and which ones are more harmful than others.
As more Americans learn how to pull their credit histories, many are finding their reports aren't giving a clear picture to potential creditors.

Read more: When Should You Dispute Credit Report? |

Thursday, October 25, 2012

20 Creative Uses for Duct Tape

With the impending arrival of The Frankenstorm to much of the east coast, there's beginning to be a mad rush to a variety of local stores load up on survival items. Duct tape is one of those things you never want to run out of. It can do wonders for minimizing and repairing damage, stopping leaks, patching broken glass. and reinforcing weakened structures.

If all goes well, the folks at have some suggestions for using up your stash --  starting with Halloween.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

QE3 Policy Pushes Rates Lower -- Trump Says "Buy Now!"

Although skeptical about the third round of "Quantitative Easing," Donald Trump agrees that this is a better time than ever to buy or refinance: "Try buying the house from a bank, because if you buy it from a bank, they'll loan you the money to buy it because they want to get it off their books, so it's a great time to buy a house. Pick a beautiful house, enjoy yourselves, and try buying it from a bank."

Maybe another reason why rates are hitting new record lows. Our Zillow calculator(at right now) shows a 40 year ragte of 3.25%.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Housing Permits Rise to 4 Year High

New-home construction in the U.S. surged in September to the highest level in four years, a sign the industry is on the road to recovery. Housing sta
rts overall have jumped 15 percent to an 872,000 annual rate last month.

It's the largest increase since July 2008 and surpasses all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 770,000. An increase in building permits may mean the gains will be sustained.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

When Modern Homes Become Abandoned Relics

Flavorwire has just posted a stunning collection of "contemporary" homes from around the world which, for a variety of reasons, are not currently livable.

Most are salvageable "fixer-uppers" that may be patched up, renovated, or redesigned for current tastes. There are a few major markets where you can now find Realtors who specialize in what can best be described as "mid-century modern."

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Positive Job Report Causes Uptick in Mortgage Rates

The September jobs report hit at 8:30 AM ET Friday and mortgage bonds immediately worsened, eventually closing the day at their worst levels in two weeks. This is in part because economic growth is inversely linked to mortgage rates, and in part because of the Federal Reserve's QE3 program.
The link between job growth and mortgage rates is fairly straight-forward :
  • When more people work, more income is earned and more taxes are paid  
  • When more income is earned, consumer spending tend to rise; when more taxes are collected, government spending tends to rise
  • An increase in spending results in more sales, more services, and the need for more jobs
Job growth can be a self-reinforcing cycle; one that leads to economic growth and, in general, when the economy is improving, mortgage rates tend to rise. That said, today's rates are still very close to their wll time lows. As of Saturday AM, our Zillpw calculater at right has updated to 3.23%.