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Friday Financial Five – March 28th, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014


Housing activity expected to come out of hibernation

The winter months produced a “time-out” of sorts for the housing market. After a severe downturn in 2009, the last few years saw growth that probably wasn’t sustainable, as a buyer’s market slowly morphed into a seller’s market in many areas. The weather, coupled with a change in mortgage qualifications, caused real estate activity to hit the pause button. As spring approaches, inventory is increasing from recent lows and the hope is that warmer weather will lead to an explosion of activity. Buyers will try to lock in interest rates and some lenders will start to ease up on borrower underwriting. It could be the beginning of a healthier real estate market, where neither the buyer nor seller starts with an upper hand.

Getting tougher on appraisal guidelines

The real estate meltdown had several contributors, many of whom have been the subject of public scorn. One group of offenders that may have avoided their fair share of scrutiny was real estate appraisers. Yes, underwriting standards were weak, but the first domino in the process was an appraiser willing to inflate the market values for underlying properties. This week, government agencies laid out a proposed rule for “Appraisal Management Companies”, which act as intermediaries between lenders and appraisers. If states adopt the rule, AMC’s would be subject to supervision and have to comply with certification guidelines.

Widowed spouses missing out on Social Security payments

In the maze of options for collecting Social Security, it’s not surprising that a surviving spouse may not be collecting the maximum available benefits. According to the recent Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General report, nearly one third of widowed spouses over 70 are missing out. According to the SSA, this is the result of a failure in the system to identify those eligible for increased benefits. Those that think they might be entitled to increase benefits should get in contact immediately.

Good news for BOA, bad news for Citigroup.

It’s strange to refer to a $9 billion settlement for a company as “good news”, but reaching finality in these lawsuits is exactly that for Bank of America. The company has been dealing with the Countrywide hangover for far too long and can soon attempt to focus primarily on business matters. Conversely, Citigroup was dealt a blow by the Federal Reserve when their capital plan was rejected. The plan included an increased dividend and a stock buyback but was rejected as part of the Fed’s recent stress test.

“Glitches” expected while complying with FACTA

The IRS expects several glitches for insurance and financial companies trying to comply with FACTA (The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), but there is still no intention to move off of the July 1st start date. The act intends to help identify large amounts of money held outside of the United States by requiring financial institutions to report account activity. In a rare display of compassion, Commissioner John Koskinen says of the IRS: “We will be understanding of those problems as long as those financial intermediaries are making reasonable, good faith efforts to comply.”

Dan Forbes is a regular contributor on financial issues. He is a CFP Board Ambassador. He leads the firm Forbes Financial Planning, Inc in Providence, RI and can be reached at [email protected]


Related Slideshow: 10 Great MA Houses That Just Came on the Market—March 27, 2014

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27 Gerry Dr.

3 beds, 2 baths


This bright and sunny 3 bedroom home at Coolidge Greene is ready for you! Additional finished space in the basement adds 600+ s.f. to the overall living space for your family needs. This home features an inviting farmer's porch and one car garage, the open living/dining space offers a fireplace, gleaming hardwood floors and a Bose surround sound. A Cherry kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counters and tile flooring. The 1/2 bath offers granite counter and tile flooring as well. Wide oak stairs lead to the second floor where you’ll find wall to wall carpet throughout except the tile bathrooms. The Master suite has vaulted ceilings, double closets, plus a bonus hideaway storage, and master bathroom. For your outside enjoyment there is a deck and patio and 3 raised flower beds for your veggie or flower gardens.

To see more of this property, go here.

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9 Greenleaf Dr.

3 beds, 1 bath


First Showing Open House - Sunday March 9th from 11am-1pm!! Your chance to get a great deal on a great home in a great neighborhood! St. John's Prep is just a stones throw away! Perfect Multi-level home with hardwood floors throughout. Open spacious living room, dining room, and family rooms, fireplace, updated heating system, garage with plenty of storage above and the house has a number of bonus rooms in the lower levels of the multi leveled basement. Enjoy the convince of a community swimming pool for your neighborhood just down the street. Professionally landscaped multilevel yard. Come and check out the best deal in the are and put your finishing touches on the home of your dreams in Danvers's most desirable neighborhood!

To see more of this property, go here.

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4 Wildflower Dr.

4 beds, 2 baths


New to the Market! Stunning bright home located on 2+ Acres and on a private cul-de-sac. This Immaculate home offers 4 Bedrooms, Large Fireplaced Family Room with Cathedral Ceiling, Custom Kitchen with Maple Cabinets, Granite and an Oversized Kitchen Island, Central Air, 1st Floor Laundry, 2 Car Garage, 1st Floor Den/Office, Maintenance Free Composite Deck with Vinyl Railings overlooking private backyard and Sprinkler System. This home is designed for a large family and is in move-in condition. Better than new!

To see more of this property, go here.

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30 Brendan Rd.

3 beds, 2 baths


A+++ curbside appeal! Sought after location at Nathan Heights! Built in 2008 this is one of the youngest resales in this terrific neighborhood and is sited at the end of a cul de sac on a spacious lot with sprawling lawns. Homeowners carefully selected upgrades that make this home shine with great taste! Enjoy handsome wood flooring in the formal living and dining rooms a striking kitchen with granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and ceramic tile flooring, a delightful family room with cathedral ceiling and propane fireplace; and a first floor laundry room. An attractive staircase with oak treads leads to the upper level with three spacious bedrooms including a master suite with a walk-in closet. Oversized third bedroom offers potential to convert into a 4 bedroom home. Dont miss the finished basement with 300+/- s.f of additional living space. Gutters and irrigation system in front and back yard are a bonus! Extra storage in the shed! Simply delightful!!

To see more of this property, go here.

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53 Hawthorne Rd.

2 beds, 2 baths


Spectacular views of Kelly's Bay enhance this picture perfect home. Competely renovated, the open living area has vaulted ceilings, gas fireplace and hardwood floors. A few steps up from the living room is a loft area with added views of the water. A master suite, guest bedroom, bath and laundry complete the interior. The outside offers professionally landscaped grounds, stonework and irrigation system. Other extras include central A/C, vinyl outdoor shower, garden shed and Wetherbest deck.

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2 Old County Rd.

3 beds, 2 baths


Spend your summers at charming Long Beach in your own beach cottage. This sweet and light filled cottage is steps off the beach and has the only fenced-in private yard and patio on Long Beach! The versatile floor plan offers options for 3 BR single family living or a 2 BR apartment with separate ground floor 1 BR apartment for guests or to rent for additional income.. Furnished and move in ready with recently updated bathrooms, roof, water heater, W/D, gutters, front decking, beach walkway, outdoor shower and tile flooring. Also, recently painted and windows resealed. Electric baseboard heat. Window A/C. Lovely front deck overlooking private yard and water view. Feels much larger than public record sq. footage suggests. Summer 2014 right around the corner!

To see more of this property, go here.

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New Salem

699 Daniel Shays Hwy

3 beds, 2 baths


Beautifully built contemporary log home on 8 acres. Bordering Quabbin restricted land. Spacious open floor plan with gorgeous stone fireplace & cathedral ceilings. First floor master suite. 2nd floor with 2 bedrooms, full bath and an open loft area. Laundry is conveniently located on the first floor. Enjoy seasonal views on the front porch or the deck outback and enjoy nature that surrounds you. Walk out basement with woodstove offers lots of work space and potential for additional living space. Convenient location with quick easy access to Rt 2 and the Amherst/Northampton area.

To see more of this property, go here.

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56 Pakachoag St.

6 beds, 2 baths


MAKE AN OFFER ON THIS ANTIQUE COLONIAL! Convenient location to Worcester and I 90 MassPike, 290 and 395, this spacious home features eat in updated kit., 1st flr, laundry , formal Din. Rm, Double liv. rm, 1st flr bedrm or office, 2 full baths, 5 bedrms on the second flr, and 2 more rooms in the walk up 3rd flr. BONUS~hidden game rm with fireplace in basemnt. Oversized 1 car garage, hardwoods throughout, newer roof, and updated boiler complete this package. Don't wait!

To see more of this property, go here.

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1525 Hyannis Rd.

3 beds, 1 bath


Presenting The Lynnhaven. This Sears Roebuck Craftman Style Bungalow takes you back to the days of quality and durability. The graceful front of this home adds wonderful curb appeal tucked behind a picturesque stone wall. The home lends itself to comfortable living.The front entry or reception hall incorporates the semi-open staircase to the second floor and a large closet as well as the entrances to the living room or first floor den/study/office. There is a large eat in kitchen with a charming built in china cabinet opening to the dining room and the generous fireplaced living room beyond. All the rooms have wood floors and trim.Upstairs are 3 ample bedrooms and a full bath. The large deck overlooks the .69 acre lot. All the benefits of being in the village with town sewer and water and walk to everything.2 exterior sheds excluded.

To see more of this property, go here.

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41 Reimers Rd.

4 beds, 2 baths


Located a few minutes drive from the Mass Pike, this four-bedroom colonial boasts updated (APO) kitchen & bathrooms, first floor laundry, finished basement, large great room w/picture window and oversize slider to expansive deck. Deck is partially covered, has a hot tub, and plenty of space for entertaining. Updated kitchen has center island, dining area beside box window, and ample cabinet and counter space.Accommodating dining room situated off kitchen.Family room off central foyer.Located a few minutes away from town center, house painted recently. Some of the furniture in this home is for sale. Snow blower included with sale.

To see more of this property, go here.


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