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Ghosts drawn to damp and creepy homes

A home that has a longstanding reputation as being haunted is a classic example of a stigmatized property. Other stigma examples might be a home where a high-profile person died or where an infamous crime took place.

Selling these homes can be a special challenge. Most states require “seller disclosure statements” in which the seller discloses all known facts.

However, with the many recent foreclosures and bank-owned properties, people who could “disclose” are not the seller. Thus, homes are being sold with a disclaimer that the seller cannot provide a “seller disclosure statement” and that the buyer is purchasing a home based on a personal inspection.

If no ghosts show up and no other indications of a stigma are found, that may satisfy the law.

Some houses that appear to be haunted might very well seem that way because they are unkempt and in disarray. The selling homeowner should repaint, replant and refurbish as much of the home as possible to make it look as good as possible.

According to several paranormal investigators, ghosts tend to frequent places that are damp and creepy. If your home is warm and friendly, there should be no ghosts. Of course, many people don’t believe in ghosts, so there’s no concern about encountering a spooky uninvited guest.

Some prospective buyers like the idea of owning a haunted home. A home where ghosts are occasionally seen has special appeal. If one of these folks is found, it might justify an increased price.

If you’re not having much luck with families, try marketing your home to investors who love the challenge of fixing up a problem home and reselling it.

Q: Will mortgage originations increase in the next year or two?

                A: The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that it expects to see $1.19 trillion in mortgage originations during 2015, a 7 percent increase from 2014. While purchase originations will increase 15 percent, it expects refinance originations to decrease three percent.

The forecast predicts purchase originations will increase to $731 billion in 2015, up from $635 billion in 2014. In contrast, refinances are expected to drop to $457 billion, from $471 billion in 2014.

For 2016, MBA is forecasting purchase originations of $791 billion and refinance originations of $379 billion for a total of $1.17 trillion.

“We are projecting that home purchase originations will increase in 2015 as the U.S. economy continues on its current path of stronger growth, job gains and declining unemployment. The job market has shown sustained improvement this year, with robust monthly increases in both payroll jobs and job openings,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist.

“We are forecasting that strong job growth, coupled with still-low mortgage rates, should translate to an increase in home sales and purchase originations,” he was quoted as saying in a news release.

Q: Can a student loan impair a person’s ability to obtain a mortgage?

                A: It can definitely have that effect. Student loan debt has simultaneously reduced younger consumers’ abilities to get a mortgage and burdened their older family members, a TransUnion study shows.

According to the 2014 TransUnion Consumer Wallet Study, the percentage of student loans in the total amount of debt owed by those aged 20-29 nearly tripled in the past nine years. The consumer loan wallet consists of the total of mortgage, auto, card, home equity line of credit, student and all other loan type categories.

Q: Are home foreclosures down?

                A: Yes, but delinquencies are rising. Nationwide, foreclosures are down both monthly and annually, but mortgage loan delinquencies are up month-over-month in August, according to the Black Knight Financial Services Mortgage Monitor.

In its August 2014 data summary included in the report, the firm indicated a nationwide foreclosure inventory rate of 1.80 percent, meaning that 1.80 percent of all residential mortgage loans were in some state of foreclosure in August.

This number represented a decline of 2.80 percent from July and 33 percent from August 2013. A foreclosure start is defined as “any active loan that was not in foreclosure in the prior month that moves into foreclosure inventory in the current month.”

WOODARD has been writing about real estate news and trends since 1971 and is the resident storyteller at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

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