Statistics don't reveal the faces behind the numbers. While trillions were lost in housing values the human cost, measured in lost dreams, dislocation, divorce, depression, suicide, addiction, is incalculable.
They're the interior spaces where the most value can be added during a sale, so they need to look their best.
Things break, things wear out, and unplanned expenditures pop up. It happens. You'll want to keep some emergency money handy for a leaky roof, clogged kitchen sink, or dripping hot water heater.
A better source of financing for home purchases is urgently needed -- and there is one.
Lost in the constant and unending stream of national headlines last week was a troubling bit of economic news that could negatively impact each and every one of us.
Since the credit crisis in 2008, lenders have made it more difficult to get a loan. If you are in the market to buy a home or refinance, you'll have three options for a mortgage.
I was listening to an interview with Tim Geithner this weekend, and after going through his new book, they asked him where he thought the economy was headed. "I don't believe forecasts," he said, which sounded smart to me.
The answer lies in a complicated web of factors that will be different for each person -- including the health of the housing market where you intend to live, your age, income and how much you can spend, how long you intend to stay in the property, your long-range financial plans and more.
Statutory language may be narrowly interpreted by courts. Federal legislation may preempt state legislation. The "third wave" of mortgage modification litigation will likely continue for some time with lenders frequently prevailing.
The Obama administration did too little, too late, to help troubled homeowners, who faced plummeting home prices and the risk of foreclosure. The most important thing they can do is get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to adopt principal reduction.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need to be regulated properly, they need to be required to maintain sufficient capital reserves, and they need to be operated transparently. But given the current legislation, eliminating them would be reckless and foolish.
Fifty years ago this summer, Congress adopted the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the first anti-discrimination law with any teeth since the end of Reconstruction. By many accounts, the Sterlings have repeatedly violated these American principles.
Some in Congress and in the administration want to do away with Fannie and Freddie and hand over their portfolio to the private banking industry, but without the previous requirements that banks do a certain amount of business with low-to-moderate income individuals.
While the spring thaw is coming later than normal in both climate and housing this year, there are new signs that the market is picking up.
Rio de Janeiro is moving forward with the expansion of land titling for its most vulnerable citizens through Minha Casa Minha Vida, the national housing program, and Morar Carioca, the city's urban upgrading program.
Each year, it seems the housing market takes on a different tone. Sometimes it's going to be a sellers' market with inflated prices and bidding wars, and sometimes a buyers' market with tons of choices and low prices.