• Abandoned New Orleans House Falls on Neighbor's Home

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    The collapse of an abandoned house next door onto her home has left a New Orleans mother concerned about the safety of her children and damage to her property. But after being notified of the situation two weeks ago, complained the woman, city officials still hadn’t acted to clean up the mess or reduce the threat.

    “Kids can’t play with this right here, because they’ll still get hurt with the nails and all that stuff hanging out,” Keyana Maxwell told New Orleans TV station WWL, which investigated her claims about the wreckage next door. Maxwell said that she’d contacted city officials, urging them to remove the collapsed home so that her kids can play in their backyard of their townhouse, and sleep in their bedrooms again without fear of debris crashing in.

    As WWL was interviewing Maxwell, however, a utility crew arrived to mark locations where electrical lines exist on the adjacent property — so that a demolition crew could avoid them when tearing down what remains of the home.

    While Maxwell told the station that she expected a more …read more  

  • Home Inspection Horrors

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    home inspection found this tangled cable tv box

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    Home inspection is serious business. But home inspectors have a wicked sense of humor. If you need proof, just check out this batch of “Postcards From the Field,” the perennially popular feature of the American Society of Home Inspectors. From a wasp’s nest the size of a basketball to a DIY electrical job that’s truly shocking, home inspectors have seen it all — and lucky for us, they carry cameras.

    Photos courtesy of the ASHI Reporter.

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    More on home inspections:
    Home Inspection Red Flags
    10 Common Home Inspection Issues
    The Scary Things Home Inspections Turn Up

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  • Cramped by Rising Mortgage Rates? Here's a Way to Cut Your Payment

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    For consumers purchasing or refinancing a home with less than 20 percent equity or 20 percent down, there’s a little-known fee that will apply to the total mortgage payment, effectively inflating the monthly outlay. Mortgage insurance is paid by the the homeowner to insure the lender against future mortgage payment default. Mortgage insurance, also dubbed PMI (an acronym for private mortgage insurance), can easily be several hundred dollars per month depending on the loan program.

    This added premium makes the cost of homeownership more expensive. However, there is a way to cut your mortgage payment using single-pay mortgage insurance. First, keep in mind that “loan to value,” or LTV, is the amount of money being lent against the value of the house. It’s computed by taking the loan amount, divided by home value. It’s a critical factor in home lending.

    When refinancing:
    o. Mortgage insurance must be removed by the the lender by law at 75 percent loan to value/25 percent home-equity.
    o. Mortgage insurance may be removed by the lender at 80% loan to value/20% home-equity (subject to individual mortgage company discretion).<br …read more