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Local Address: May 3, 2009 - May 9, 2009

Realty Exec Wants More Housing Incentives

The Century 21 real estate company is asking Congress for more help boosting the real estate market. Tom Kunz, Century 21's president and CEO, stopped by the Post Thursday morning. He and some of the company's franchisees had just made the rounds on Capitol Hill, asking lawmakers to boost the current (and temporary) $8,000 first-time-buyer tax credit to $15,000--and to make it available to anyone buying their principal home. He also thinks government should push 30-year fixed mortgage rates down to 4-4.5 percent for about a year.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  May 8, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Selling , The market , Weekend Poll  
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Do You Really Need a Land-Line Phone?

In one of every five homes in the U.S., there's no traditional land-line telephone, according to an Associated Press story by Alan Fram. And the share of households that relies only on a cell phone rose rapidly last year, driven in large part by household cost-cutting. I've been considering cutting the cord myself--or at least drastically reducing my landline service. Why spend for overlapping phone service when I already have a phone in my pocket?

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  May 7, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Home features  
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Dept. of Hopeful News: A Special Home

Privacy and sanctuary have long been important to the people who run Miriam's House, a rehabbed apartment building in the Shaw-Cardozo neighborhood where as many as 15 women at a time can find nurturing support as they struggle with HIV, and often a history of substance abuse and homelessness. But it's hard for a charity to garner public support--and donations--if people don't know they're there. One result: A big fundraiser scheduled for May 12, to mark their 13th anniversary. It will be held off-site, at the True Reformer Building, 1200 U St., NW, beginning at 6 p.m.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  May 6, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Department of Hopeful News  
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Discriminatory Housing Ads Proliferate Online

Fair housing complaints spiked up 17 percent over the past year, according to a report just out from the National Fair Housing Alliance, a DC-based consortium of more than 220 private, non-profit fair housing groups around the country. They blame the foreclosure crisis, which has forced a lot of families into the rental market, and the rise of Internet advertising, which has scant gatekeeping regarding the content that's posted. After I saw NFHA's report, I spent about half an hour searching Washington-area for-rent ads on Craigslist just to see what I might find. In just that brief search, I found a few eye-openers--and then called NFHA's President and CEO, Shanna Smith, to solicit her reactions.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  May 5, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Buying , Foreclosure , Selling  
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Chat Plus: Fair Prices and Distress Sales

Question: I am a buyer with a really great credit score, big down payment, etc. I really want to buy, but what I am finding is that the only properties that are priced fairly, that is at non-peak prices, are the distressed ones. Do you think that if I don’t buy a short sale or a foreclosure, that I am overpaying?

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  May 4, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Chat Plus  
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