Scam Alert Signs

How to Avoid Real Estate Cyber Scams

Phishing, hacking, wire fraud – these are all ways people attempt to steal from others online.  As real estate searches and transactions move increasingly online, the chances of being caught up in a cyber scam have become even greater.

By now most people have heard of the Nigerian prince scams or phishing emails asking for social security or banking information, but many people don’t know that they need to watch out for possible scams when buying or selling their home.  Cybercrimes have become increasingly sophisticated over the years and the people perpetrating them focus on situations where a lot of money is changing hands, making real estate transactions an ideal target.

Financial Scam ConceptThe National Association of Realtors® recently warned its members and consumers about one example, a wiring scam during the closing stage of the home buying and selling process . Hackers will break into the email accounts of consumers and real estate professionals to get details about a real estate transaction.  The hacker will then send an email pretending to be the buyer, seller, real estate agent or someone else involved in the closing process and say there has been a last minute change and provide new wiring instructions; the instructions send the closing costs funds directly into the hacker’s bank account.

While it may seem like there are hundreds of ways for a criminal to take advantage of a consumer online, there are just as many ways consumers can protect themselves.

Here are a few tips from the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association to help home buyers and sellers recognize and avoid real estate cyber scams:

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Mortgage Interest Rates

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Going Up

According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage interest rate has jumped up.  The last few weeks we’ve seen 3.94% to the current higher rate of 4.03%.   Interest rates had been hovering around 3.5% since June, and many are wondering why there has been such a significant increase so quickly. 

Why are mortgage rates going up?  Basically, the better the economy, the higher interest rates will go.

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Renting vs Buying a Home

Buying is Now 37.7% Cheaper than Renting

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that home-ownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers actually show that the range is an average of 17.4% less expensive in Honolulu (HI), all the way up to 53.2% less expensive in Miami & West Palm Beach (FL) and 37.7% nationwide!

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Austin Adler - Life Insurance & Homeownership

Life Insurance & Homeownership

NOTE: Austin Adler is a Financial Services Professional with MassMutual Financial Group, specializing in life and long term disability insurance. Austin takes the confusion out of insurance!  He’s a good friend and someone I respect greatly.  He provides some “must know” info below.  Check it out, then give Austin a call at 608-828-4327 or send him a note at!

—Randy Lenz, Broker/Owner, NextHome Metro Group

By Austin Adler, MassMutual Financial Group

Life insurance and home ownership may seem like they don’t belong on the same plate, but the reality is they go together just like peas and carrots. The truth is, when you go through the processes and commitment of buying a home, life insurance inevitably comes up as part of your asset protection. It’s not surprising for first-time home buyers to not carry any life insurance whatsoever.  “Why do I need life insurance?  If something happens to me I don’t really care what the next day looks like.”  This statement can be frequently heard from first-timers before they settle down to buy a home.

Debt changes everything.

Every year families lose homes when the person who paid the mortgage is no longer around and life insurance is just one way to help make sure that doesn’t happen to you.

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Mortgage Pre-Approval with Rob Miller | Providence Home Lending

Why Mortgage Pre-Approval is Important

NOTE:  Rob Miller is a lender who cares deeply about his clients and is available when you need him—not when it’s convenient for him!  Rob is there for you on weekdays, weeknights and weekends; whenever YOU want to buy a home!  He takes great pride in education within his field, and has a special dedication to loan programs for veterans. He shares some great advice on preapproval letters below!

—Randy Lenz, Broker/Owner, NextHome Metro Group

By Rob Miller, MLOP, Providence Home Lending

What is mortgage pre-approval and why is it important?

This is a popular question. The short answer is that pre-approval puts you on the right path to buying your home. Knowing your financial situation and strengths before you go house-hunting and propose offers will get you on your way to success.

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