By Marilyn Lewis of MSN Real Estate
The cost of remodeling is dropping, to the delight of homeowners who can afford to make improvements to their homes.
Remodeling costs have dropped 10% to 15% in the past five years even while the cost of materials rose about 17%, says Sal Alfano, editorial director of Remodeling Magazine, which released the 2011-2012 edition of its annual Cost vs. Value Report in late 2011. Read More:
Posted in General
Written by Kayleigh Kulp/Published March 30, 2012/FOXBusiness
When he was 39, Mark Brandemuehl bought a home in Colorado properties with the intention he’d retire there.
But until the day comes when he leaves the workforce and enter retirement, he plans to rent out the properties and have them pay for themselves until he is ready to move in. With rock-bottom home prices and mortgage interest rates hovering around 4%, Brandemuehl, who is on the hunt for his third property, isn’t the only one with this idea.
A 2011 survey by vacation rental booking site HomeAway.com shows 14% of vacation rental owners purchased their home to be used during retirement and are renting it out in the meantime. Some homeowners rent out their second home for a limited time each year while others seek longer terms with one-year or longer leases.
Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/03/30/renting-to-retirement-six-factors-to-consider/#ixzz1qoWFiv4M
NEW YORK – Behind the mainstream Wall Street happy talk about more stable financial markets and an improving economy are grim warnings of tough times ahead from a small cadre of doomsayers who warn that the worst of the financial crisis is still to come.
Harry Dent, author of the new book The Great Crash Ahead, says another stock market crash is coming due to a bad ending to the global debt bubble. He has pulled back on his earlier prediction of a crash in 2012, as central banks around the world have been flooding markets with money, giving stocks an artificial short-term boost. But a crash is coming in 2013 or 2014, he warns. “This will be a repeat of 2008-09, only bigger, when it finally hits,” Dent told USA TODAY.
Gerald Celente, a trend forecaster at the Trends Research Institute, says Americans should brace themselves for an “economic 9/11″ due to policymakers’ inability to solve the world’s financial and economic woes. The coming meltdown, he predicts, will lead to growing social unrest and anti-government sentiment, a U.S. dollar with far less purchasing power and more people out of work. Read More:
Warren Buffett says along with equities, single-family homes are a very attractive investment right now.
Appearing live on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Buffett tells Becky Quick he’d buy up “a couple hundred thousand” single family homes if it were practical to do so. If held for a long period of time and purchased at low rates, Buffett says houses are even better than stocks. He advises buyers to take out a 30-year mortgage and refinance if rates go down. Read More:
If your long-term plan is to keep working, investing and living where you are until the day you retire, and then change your lifestyle and financial life, you are practicing what I call “cliff living” — living one way until you abruptly leave the world of work, then leaping to a whole new level of life and finances. Read More:
WASHINGTON – Monthly U.S. exports to Europe grew in December, a hopeful sign after a steep decline the previous month. But, some economists remain concerned that the region’s debt crisis will weigh on the U.S. economy this year.
The overall trade deficit widened to $48.8 billion in December because imports grew at a faster pace than exports, the Commerce Department said Friday. It was the largest imbalance since June. Imports rose 1.3%, largely because the U.S. bought more foreign autos, auto parts and industrial machinery. Exports increased 0.7%. And exports to Europe rose 7.2%, following November’s decline of more than 6%.
Still, exports to the 17 nations that use the euro grew just 1.7% in December from November. And exports to the euro zone fell 1.6% in December from the same month in 2010. Read More:
WASHINGTON – The U.S. government dispatched 55 prosecutors, FBI agents and analysts Friday to a new financial crimes enforcement unit focusing on home mortgage abuses that fueled the 2008 economic collapse.
For the first time since the crisis, federal investigators will be joined by state law enforcement officials as part of a working group that, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, would launch the “broadest, deepest investigation into what blew up the economy.”
The unit, first referenced earlier this week by President Obama in the State of the Union, is expected to plunge deeper into the causes of “massive market failures” that continue to harm homeowners, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said. “I have no doubt that we will improve our ability to recover losses, to prevent fraud, to bring abuses to light and to hold those who violate the law accountable,” Holder said. The attorney general disputed suggestions that enforcement efforts so far have been inadequate, requiring the new initiative. Read More:
Q: How much should the typical 45-year old currently have invested for retirement?
A: Investors are realizing, the hard way, that there’s no substitute for saving when it comes to retirement. During large parts of the 1980s and 1990s, if investors were a bit behind saving for retirement, it wasn’t a big deal. Stocks did so well during large periods of time in those decades, remarkable returns could fix many faulty retirement investment plans.
Talk about a stock market that could fix even the worst retirement plan. Stocks posted positive returns every year during the 1980s, except in 1981, when they fell just 4.9%. It was a similar situation in the 1990s, with stocks posting positive returns in every year of the decade except for a 3.1% decline in 1990. Some of the annual returns in the 1980s and 1990s were nothing short of breathtaking. Investors knew, and they were right, that if they just saved a little and stayed invested, they’d be fine. Read more:
CHICAGO — It seems like common sense: Don’t take on more debt to pay off your bills.
Yet debt-laden consumers routinely do just that, even as
they criticize the federal government for efforts to raise the debt ceiling.
The spotlight is on the government’s questionable fiscal
behavior as it nears its borrowing limit of $14.3 trillion and confronts the
risk of a crippling default. But most individuals are just as addicted to debt
as Uncle Sam. Read More:
The U.S. had 1.8 million distressed homes in January that had yet to be listed for sale, a “shadow inventory” that is expected to weigh on home prices for years.
Market researcher CoreLogic said Wednesday that the shadow inventory had shrunk slightly the past year, from 2 million homes in January 2010.The dip was driven by an improving economy, which helped more people stay current on their mortgages, strengthening in some home prices last year and more loan modifications, says Sam Khater, CoreLogic senior economist. Read more: