Of home purchase loans in the U.S. the percentage including a co-signer continues to increase, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. With rising home prices and interest rates, and intense competition among buyers, first-time homebuyers are facing tough financial challenges. They’re often asking parents, grandparents and other friends and relatives to co-sign a loan in order to make their American Dream happen. As a real estate agent, you’re not obligated to provide financial advice on this topic, but it would be helpful to be prepared with some co-signing red flags if …

Updated as of Monday, January 21, 2019 First the bad news, and then some good news about how you can still get paid during the shutdown: 2019 is off to a worrisome start. As of this posting, the United States government remains in a partial shutdown. The President and Congress are unable to agree on the provisions of a Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government, particularly the funding (or not) of a wall that would be built along the Mexican border. A partial shutdown means that only some — …

The average American credit score is getting stronger, according to CNBC. In fact, the average score hit a record in 2018: 704. Congratulations, America! To measure creditworthiness, the most widely used score in the country is FICO (named for its creator, Fair Isaac & Company, in 1956). The game played here is called “predictive analytics,” which uses your credit information to analyze and predict how you would handle more credit and responsibility. Somebody with a poor FICO score may not be approved for further credit opportunities. The assumption could be …

People who work on commission only truly earn their money. They are paid based on what they sell, and the proof is always in the pudding. Of course, even for the best salespeople, commissions can be wildly unpredictable, even despite your best efforts. The way to stay one step ahead of the commission game is to plan your financial priorities. Here are a few tips to do just that: Get real Figure out how many commissions you will need to earn in order to cover your expenses (all of your …

Bankruptcy filings fell 2.6 percent for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2018,  according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The June 2018 annual bankruptcy filings totaled 775,578 compared with 796,037 cases in the year ending June 2017. That’s good news, even though the stats often go up and down. Whatever the current bankruptcy filings happen to be, you’ll most likely be working with a percentage of clients who are emerging from bankruptcy. Remember that clients who claimed bankruptcy does not mean that they can’t …

Due to the recent economy and simply the demands of life in general, almost nobody has a perfect credit score. A poor score can stand in the way of your client securing financing for a property, or affect the amount they would have to pay. A credit score is simply an overview of a client’s financial history and current debt. A number (score) is assigned as a result of a variety of factors: payment history, amount of credit owed, types of credit established (loans, credit cards), the utilization of credit …

Despite all the political and social upheaval of the last few years, some things in our culture remain consistent. One of the more unwavering rules of thumb: real estate is one of the best ways to invest money and become financially secure. According to a recent survey by bankrate.com, real estate remains the most preferred way to invest the money that won’t be needed for at least a decade. In fact, this is the third year in a row that real estate topped the list. The second preference: no-risk cash …

The stock market entered 2018 on a wild roller coaster. But here’s the slightly more stable story for mortgages thus far: According to the mortgage agency Freddie Mac, mortgage rates held below 4 percent for 26 straight weeks in 2017. Freddie predicts that 2018 will be a year of rising rates again. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 3.95 percent during the first week of January 2018 to 4.15 percent by month’s end. This marks only the second time in the past year that rates have increased 20 basis points (read …

Technology, demographics and the economy are changing the way the real estate industry does business, and the changes keep coming at a dizzying pace. This evolution is causing home seekers to question how real estate transactions have been done for decades, and this includes the formerly traditional six-percent commission fee. Also now being freshly debated: splits between a buyer’s agent and a listing agent. Of course, the six-percent commission has always been considered standard, but it was never the law, and it was not always universally applied. With barriers coming …

It’s far from clear that any major reforms to the tax system are coming anytime soon. There is plenty of disagreement in Congress over who should receive tax cuts (individuals, businesses etc.) and how those cuts can be achieved without substantially increasing the federal budget deficit. Tax policy plays an important role in the real estate industry. That’s why the National REALTORS® Association and other groups involved in the housing business are paying close attention to various proposals under consideration. Here are a number of ways that potential changes could …