Tag Archives: consumers

Money Monday: Who’s checking your credit?

You may be surprised….

According to the Consumer Federation of America’ research, it’s not just creditors who are looking at your credit scores.

You may not realize this, but creditors are only required to inform consumers that their scores are being checked when consumers have one of the three happen:

  1. They apply for a mortgage
  2. When they haven’t received the best loan terms
  3. When they are denied a loan

Who else may be looking at your credit? 

  • Electric utility companies
  • Cell phone companies
  • Landlords
  • Home insurers

Who is checking your credit score

This infographic is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS at CAR.org.

Common Remodeling Projects

When consumers remodel their home, they consistently focus on a couple key areas.

Those home owners, according to home remodelers, spend money on upgrading:

  • 81% focus on redoing the bathroom
  • 79% spend money and time on refreshing the kitchen

Room additions and whole house remodeling projects are two other focuses, but only about 47 – 49% of home owners work on those.

WhattheRemodelReveals

This infographic is from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS at CAR.org.

What’s in a Name? Energy Efficiency in Real Estate

Energy-efficient real estate and housing is a top priority for consumers; buyers and builders just call it different things.

An energy-efficient home when buying or remodeling is a top priority for 50% of interviewed consumers, and thus home builders often cater to and strive to build those types of houses. But the consumer and the builder often use different terms to describe sustainable, green and environmentally friendly real estate.

environmentally friendly real estate

This infographic is from CAR.org.

Money Monday: Has money, will buy

Consumers’ expectations for their money

Today’s consumers are a little more cautious in what they spend their money on; while they may have the means, they may not necessarily spend it. That’s because many have an increased expectation for what their money will buy — and if it’s not enough bang for the buck, often skip the purchase, including home purchases. Good to know for home sellers in the real estate market!

Today's consumers: have money, will buy?

This infographic is from CAR.org.

Money Monday: Americans are saving more than spending

Americans are saving faster than they are spending.

money“It’s a key shift in spending habits that started during the Great Recession. And the trend continues as we head into the holiday shopping season this weekend.

“The savings rate in the United States rose to 5.6% in October — its highest mark in nearly three years. In September, the savings rate was 5.3%. Put another way, Americans put aside an extra $40 billion in October rather than spend it.

“The personal consumption expenditure, a measure of spending, only rose 0.1% between September and October…”

This article is from CNN Money. Read more of this article at CNN Money here.

San Diego MLS fights for Zillow, Trulia exposure

 Agency wants agents’ info to be listed prominently on popular search sites

Article by U~T San Diego here: “San Diego MLS fights for Zillow, Trulia exposure“.  This story was updated Wednesday Feb. 8 with additional comments from a real estate syndicator and housing search sites.

Sandicor - MLSA debate over listing data continues between real estate brokers and websites like Zillow and Trulia as the San Diego region’s Multiple Listing Service seeks to control content to outside parties.

Sandicor, the county’s MLS, has added a text field to its listings that allows members to enter contact information, including names, email addresses and brokerage websites. The information, along with the usual listing data, would be disseminated by syndication websites such as ListHub and Point2, which are sources of information for popular real estate sites.

The main idea is that the contact information in the extra field would be displayed prominently for home hunters to see, nixing any confusion over the listing agent and an agent who is advertising on Trulia or Zillow.

The change, in the works since October, follows last week’s heated discussion after a San Diego brokerage cut ties with those two real estate behemoths.

“I think it will be clear to consumers if they want to contact the listing agent, they can,” Sandicor CEO Ray Ewing said. “If not, they can contact others who have ads around (the listings.) We give them the choice.”

Real estate brokers, who can opt-out of filling out the new field, also will benefit because the extra information will help drive traffic back to their websites, Ewing added.

It is believed Sandicor is the first MLS to make such a system change, Ewing said…

Want to read more about Sandicor’s latest change? Visit MLS Fights Back for Its Brokers, a blog from a real estate IT consulting firm.

Read more from this article by U~T San Diego here: “San Diego MLS fights for Zillow, Trulia exposure“. 

What do you think about this issue?  Obviously, this move to my local MLS, Sandicor, affects me–in that my listings have less visibility online.  But it does affect me on the flip side, with Zillow and Trulia not allowing my contact information to show up on my own listings.  

A closer look to be taken at nonbank mortgage lenders

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Wednesday disclosed key details about how its examiners will size up mortgage companies that aren’t banks but still offer home loans to consumers, noting it will be leaning on other regulators for help as it embarks on the enormous task of reviewing thousands of nonbank lenders.

The details are crucial given that the consumer watchdog agency, through a supervision program it launched last week, is preparing to bring many of the nation’s nonbank financial companies under federal supervision for the first time.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - CFPBThousands of nonbank financial firms are not chartered as banks but still offer mortgage, student and payday loans, and many have faced only light federal scrutiny. The sector has faced criticism from consumer advocates and other groups who say some home lending practices by the nonbank sector contributed to the recent financial crisis.

The consumer bureau noted Wednesday the sector is indeed “a significant part of the mortgage market” that included many of the largest subprime lenders during the housing bubble.

“The mortgage market cannot work well for consumers if the spotlight shines only on one part of it, while the rest is left in darkness,” said the consumer bureau’s director Richard Cordray. “Our supervision program will illuminate the entire marketplace by making nonbanks play by the same rules as the banks.”

The bureau’s new “Mortgage Origination Examination Procedures” guide released Wednesday makes clear the bureau’s examiners will be conducting broad reviews of nonbank mortgage lenders’ business practices and the agency will be coordinating with state regulators and other federal agencies.

Consumer bureau staffers will be examining the companies’ volume of business as well as the types of products and services the firms are offering. Also, the bureau will be evaluating lenders’ advertisements and marketing practices as well as closing practices, another indication that just about every part of a firms’ business model will be under review.

The goal will be to assess whether nonbank mortgage lenders and brokers are in compliance with financial laws.

But the bureau also made clear that, unlike other banking regulators, the watchdog has another focus: identifying risks to consumers.

The bureau, created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law to root out fraudulent financial practices thought to have contributed to the recent financial crisis, had already been supervising some of the nation’s largest banks. But its powers to oversee nonbank lenders didn’t kick in until last week, when President Barack Obama recess-appointed Cordray as the bureau’s first director. Cordray has said the agency will move forward on programs and probes despite concerns about how the president bypassed the Senate to install him as the agency’s chief.

This article is by the Wall Street Journal, viewable here: “New Bureau Plans Close Look at Nonbank Mortgage Lenders.”

Renting can help you later

A good rental history can help borrowers

First-time home buyers planning to purchase a house later this year may have a better chance of qualifying for a mortgage if they have had a history of paying their rent on time.

  • Last year, credit-reporting agency Experian added a section to millions of credit reports showing on-time rent payments and raised the credit scores of many people.  The company said that this year it would add in negative marks, including mentions of bounced checks or of tenants’ leaving before a lease was up.
  • Incorporating rental payments into credit scores could affect millions of people who have not established credit histories through credit cards, student loan repayments, and other credit sources.
  • Almost half of consumers considered “high-risk” experienced an increase of 100 points or more after their positive rental history was added, according to Experian’s rent bureau. Those with average or higher scores did not experience major movement.
  • Although it is still too early to show the effects of the new credit report, which began in December, the changes are intended to allow lenders and consumers to have greater transparency, according to Corelogic.
  • People who have lost their homes to foreclosure and are now leasing may be able to rebuild their credit histories by being responsible renters.
  • However, consumer groups and advocates are skeptical, noting that reports are sometimes riddled with mistakes and some landlord-tenant disputes may be difficult to capture in a credit report. Rent may not have been paid, for example, because the furnace was left unrepaired for months.

Read the article, from which these points were taken, from the New York Times.