Home prices saw steady growth in third quarter

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The encouraging rise in existing-home sales amidst ongoing inventory shortages kept home prices rising in most of the country during the third quarter, but overall price appreciation slowed to a healthier pace, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors.

The median existing single-family home price increased in 87 percent of measured markets, with 154 out of 178 metropolitan statistical areas showing gains based on closings in the third quarter compared with the third quarter of 2014. Twenty-four areas (13 percent) recorded lower median prices from a year earlier.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales rose 2.1 percent in the third quarter and are 9.0 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest increased 4.8 percent to $181,100 in the third quarter from the same quarter a year ago.

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9 tips to prepare the outside of your home for an Open House


If you’re prepping your home for an open house, you already know it’s important to polish how your home looks inside. But many sellers overlook the outside of their home—and if you neglect that, you could miss out on potential offers.

While painting your entire home, redoing the landscaping, or installing a new garage door sound like a lot of work, you can prep the outside of your home without stressing out.

Related: Why Open Houses still matter

Try these easy outdoor open house tips, courtesy of realtor.com, to ensure your place has buyers at “hello.”

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5 ways to start decluttering your house today


It’s a common problem for many home owners. You know you have way too much stuff for your available space, but you become paralyzed at the thought of decluttering.

One solution is to start with something that takes minimal effort but makes a big impact in your home right away. From creating a bit of breathing room in your closet to making a dent in the junk drawer, these five ways, courtesy of houzz.com, will help you to begin the decluttering process are relatively painless.

Don’t worry — you can do this!

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Why do people move?


Why do people choose to live where they do, and how do their priorities and housing trade-offs shift over time? Using data from a recent study by the Centre for Cities, a research and policy institute based out of London, CityLab highlighted some key insights into the motivations behind where people choose to live.

It should come as no surprise that the top reasons overall for choosing where to live are the cost of housing (at 28 percent), being close to family and friends (28 percent), the size and type of housing (22 percent), and being close to their job or their partner’s job (21 percent).

Related: Is it time to make a move?

However, Richard Florida, co-founder and editor of CityLab, points out that these housing decisions vary significantly depending on age. People generally make three big moves in their lifetime, according to the National Association of Realtors, and their priorities and trade-offs are different at each of these three stages.

These are the three main types of moves:

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Home buyers: Watch out for these 3 scams

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Buying a home is one of the more significant financial decisions you are likely to make, which also makes the process ripe for someone trying to part you from your hard-earned money.

That is why, according to housingwire.com, that the federal agency Freddie Mac has issued a warning for home buyers about scams that offer the promise of raising a buyer’s credit score — as long as the buyer is willing to pay for it.

But don’t fall for it, as the agency warns on its website, writing that:

“Who doesn’t want the highest credit score possible to garner the most-favored terms? For many Americans with consumer credit negatively impacted by the housing crisis and fluctuating economy, it’s easy to be lured by the promise of a raised credit score. Schemes that falsely raise credit scores will land borrowers in scalding hot water — as well as cost you time and money combating both origination- and servicing-related fraud.”

Related: Fannie Mae changing some mortgage application rules

Here are three types of common credit score fraud schemes, according to Freddie Mac, that home buyers should be on the lookout for:

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Buyers, sellers continue to turn to Realtors

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More and more home sellers and buyers are turning to real estate agents to sell their homes or buy a new one, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents surveyed say they worked with a real estate agent to buy or sell a home. That has pushed for-sale-by-owner transactions to the lowest share ever, according to the survey.

Related: Knowing what to look for when hiring a Realtor

Eighty-nine percent of sellers said they sold their home with an agent, while for-sale-by-owner sales only accounted for about 8 percent of transactions (down from 9 percent the last three years).

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More buyers shunning banks when it comes to mortgages

Home buyers increasingly are turning to independent mortgage companies for their loans, not traditional banks.

According to data from the Federal Reserve, in 2014, nondepository independent mortgage companies originated 47 percent of completed home-purchase loans and 42 percent of refinance loans – up from 43 percent and 31 percent, respectively, from 2013. That also represents the largest share of the mortgage market held by non-banks since 1995.

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