Tax liens can be a lucrative real estate investment, but they can also hurt homeowners if not regulated effectively, resulting in unnecessary foreclosures

For good or for ill, county and municipal governments rely on property taxes to provide services to their residents. Police and fire protection and school districts all rely on homeowners’ timely payment of property taxes in order to fund their payroll and operations. And that’s where tax lien investing comes in. When a homeowner is delinquent in filing taxes, an investor sometimes comes to the county tax office and pays the tax on the homeowner’s behalf. . . .

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This week in real estate news, USA Today reported that foreign homebuyers from multiple countries are investing in U.S. homes

International buyers are continuing to make a beeline for the American housing market. Attracted by cheaper home prices, relative economic stability and an affinity to all things American, these buyers are lapping up homes. Their interest continues to rise along with rising home values and an improving market, says USA Today. That’s probably a bright silver lining for the still-sluggish housing market. . . .

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The demand for rental properties is pushing rents higher

The strict lending policies and rising home prices have sidelined many potential buyers from the market. This has created a huge demand for rental properties. Rents are rising, and apartments are suddenly in high demand. It’s a jubilant time for landlords, but tenants are hurting. Their budgets are being stretched and their disposable income is dwindling. . . .

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The IRS has introduced a safe harbor that makes things easier for landlords when it comes to claiming deductions

Here’s a bit of good news for small landlords: The Internal Revenue Service has introduced a “safe harbor” for deducting repairs to investment properties from ordinary income. Normally, the IRS does not allow you to take a full current-year deduction for anything they consider a renovation or improvement. They only allow you to take a first-year deduction on repairs, which the IRS defines as projects that do not materially add to the value of a property . . .

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With rising prices in many cities, potential homebuyers can

For many buyers, the dream of owning a home continues to be just that – a dream. Skyrocketing home prices, stiff competition and increasing mortgage rates are becoming a source of frustration for many potential homeowners. According to CNN, buyers are getting shut out of the market in many big cities across America. Cities such as Las Vegas, San Francisco and San Diego have seen a price hike of 20 percent or more in the last year, according to Case Shiller. . . .

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The housing market in Las Vegas in one of the weaker markets in the U.S., according to Freddie Mac

The housing market in Las Vegas is still not out of the woods. According to a new study measuring the strength of the U.S. housing market, the city was positioned last on the list. Freddie Mac’s Multi-Indicator Market Index measures the stability of the housing market in all the states and the U.S. capitol and the top 50 metropolitan areas. The measure takes into consideration mortgage applications, income ratios and employment. . . .

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Real estate investors are pulling out of the housing market as home prices rise

After playing an important role in the housing market recovery, investors are now retreating with increasing home prices. Home prices rose 13.4 percent last year. The double-digit growth is making it challenging for investors to grab a good deal, so they are bowing out. “Not only are fewer deals available, but once found, the deals are not as sweet: as supplies of distressed homes contract, the discount has narrowed,” . . .

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President Obama indicated last Friday that he will sign the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013, which eases the earlier Biggert-Waters reforms and grants property owners a reprieve from a planned sharp increase in flood insurance premiums.

President Obama indicated last Friday that he will sign the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013, which eases the earlier Biggert-Waters reforms and grants property owners a reprieve from a planned sharp increase in flood insurance premiums. The problem is that politicians have overruled the actuaries for years, setting National Flood Insurance Program premiums far too low. As a result, the NFIP is, well, actuarially insolvent. . . .

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The florida real estate market is being weighed down by foreclosures that were abandoned by both homeowners and banks

Florida has taken a severe beating during the housing market crash. And although the market is healing, there are still troublesome trends. The good news is home values are rising and new foreclosures are slowing down in the Sunshine state. But, abandoned and unkempt homes continue to have a ghostly presence in the market. They are hanging over the market like an ominous cloud. . . .

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Rising costs, higher mortgage rates and stringent lending practices are keeping first-time buyers out of the housing market, and thereby affecting the real estate recovery in the U.S.

It was once the rising star of the housing industry, but ever since the bust and its subsequent fallout, the Phoenix housing market has continued to struggle. There was bad news again in January after a depressing end to 2013. According to a report released by Arizona State University, the median single-family home price fell to $196,900 in January. That’s down 4 percent compared to the previous month. . . .

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