Morning Minute: Closing on a home? Check out Freddie Mac’s infographic on what to expect

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If this is your first time buying a home, Freddie Mac has created an infographic that outlines some of the general steps that consumers can expect to happen on closing day and tips to help them be prepared. Find more homeownership resources from Freddie Mac.

In other headlines:

Why Mortgage Rates Keep Owners From Selling – New York Times (via REALTOR® Magazine Daily Real Estate News)

8 Signs It’s Time to Walk (and Maybe Run) Away From a Home – Realtor.com

Morning Minute: NAR takes a closer look at U.S. building permit activity

Available housing inventory has tightened in recent years and new home construction will play a role in meeting that housing demand. Economists with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) took a closer look at building permits and compared activity levels in 2000, 2005 and 2015. Read the full analysis, “Building Permits and Inventory,” from NAR and see this interactive map NAR has created.

In other headlines:

Flood Insurance, Tax Reform Top Issues as Realtors® Head to Washington – National Association of REALTORS®

Citizenship applications soar, and that means more potential homeowners – HousingWire

U.S. housing starts fall to five-month low; building permits weak – Reuters

Illinois REALTORS® Invite Veterans for a Session on Homeownership

Persin

Carpenter

In partnership with the City of Aurora Veterans Advisory Council, the Illinois REALTORS® are hosting a Homeownership 101 session in an effort to equip and educate our American Heroes on the basics of homeownership.

Illinois REALTORS® President Doug Carpenter, who is also a U.S. Air Force Veteran, will be kicking off the afternoon on May 22 at the Prisco Center in Aurora Illinois. He will be followed by a series of presenters that will cover credit and credit scoring and preparing for the loan application.

Also participating in the afternoon event is Jack Persin, chair of the Illinois REALTORS® Veterans Task Force and Veteran of the U.S. Navy. He will walk through the basics of a home search and writing an offer. Download a flyer for the event.

Full information of this session and the rest of the weeks events can be found at http://vetsweekaurora.org.

Morning Minute: More U.S. homeowners are gaining equity in their homes

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The home equity picture is improving for more homeowners as the number of seriously underwater properties fell 1.2 million in the first quarter of this year compared to a year ago, according to the Q1 2017 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report from ATTOM Data Solutions.

During the same time, the number of equity rich properties (those where the combined loan amount is 50 percent less than the estimated value) climbed by 1.4 million since last year. Illinois still ranks among the states with the highest share of seriously underwater properties, coming in third with 16.5 percent. Read more from RealtyTrac.

In other headlines:

Area home sales down 13.2 percent in April – State Journal-Register

Inventory Shortages Are Slowing Down the Market – Keeping Current Matters blog

7 Questions to Ask at an Open House That Uncover the Truth, Warts and All – Realtor.com

Morning Minute: Home improvement projects that will boost your home’s value

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Make the most of your remodeling efforts by focusing on the improvement projects that will bring you the best return on your investment. The HouseLogic article, “Home Remodeling: 6 Improvements to Increase Home Value,” outlines six projects that can make a difference including replacing your front door, upgrading your kitchen, replacing your garage door and more. Read more from HouseLogic.

In other headlines:

How to Sell a House: 4 New Rules That Can Make or Break a Sale – Realtor.com

New-Home Prices Surge: The Real Reason – Forbes (via NAR Daily Real Estate News)