WSJ:Doubling Down on Housing

Posted by Colorado Group Realty on Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 at 10:05am.

Record-Low Interest Rates and a Scary Stock Market Are Prompting Investors To Sink Even More Money Into Their Homes

The housing crash has left at least 11 million people in the unenviable position of owing more on their homes than they are worth—and many more millions with properties worth far less than they paid for them.

But some might not be as trapped as they think.

Record-low mortgage rates and a new slump in home prices are presenting unusual opportunities in the housing market these days—even for so-called underwater borrowers.

Some intrepid homeowners are intentionally taking a loss on their current house—and writing a big check to retire their old mortgage—in order to buy twice the home for not much more money. Others, eschewing conventional personal-finance advice, are even opting for "cash-in" refinancings, paying thousands of dollars out of pocket to settle old loans—and then taking out new mortgages with lower payments, shorter durations or both.

Katie Everett, a real-estate broker in Denver, says none of her clients kicked in cash when selling their homes last year. This year, "about half are willing to bring money to closing, anywhere from $5,000 to $45,000," she says.

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