Jumbo Mortgages Are in High Demand but Harder to Get Than Ever

Mortgage lenders began to tighten their purse strings when the coronavirus crisis hit the U.S. earlier this year, raising requirements for all borrowers and for those taking out large home loans in particular.

Mortgages that are too large to be purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the government sponsored enterprises that buy home loans, are known as jumbo loans. Across most of the country, a mortgage larger than $510,400 is considered non-conforming and fits in the jumbo bucket, though in some expensive markets the jumbo loan limits is as high as $765,600.

Click here to read the full story.

Booking a Vacation Rental Is Complicated This Summer. Here’s How to Stay Safe and Get a Good Deal

Usually summer is the busiest time of the year for Tiare Cowan, a longtime Airbnb host in St. Augustine, Fla. But after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic in mid-March, Cowan, who rents out two units of her family’s beach home, saw a tidal wave of cancellations.

“We lost every single reservation through June over a three-week period,” Cowan says. “It was terrible.”

Click here to read the full story.

Coronavirus ‘Contact Tracer’ is One of the Most In-Demand Jobs Right Now. Here’s How to Get Hired

States across the country are hiring tens of thousands of contact tracers to stop the spread of COVID-19.

It’s important work: Contact tracers help infected Americans recall the names of everyone they’ve recently come into contact with, and then track those individuals down to avert the disease’s path of infection.

Emily Gurley, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist and the lead instructor of a free online course on the fundamentals of contact tracing, calls the people who fill these roles “part detective, part therapist, and part social worker.”

Click here to read the full story.

Buying a Car During Coronavirus Isn’t Easy, But You Could Save Big

In the midst of a pandemic, buying a car might not be the first thing on your mind. But if you are willing to leap some hurdles, there are great deals out there, say experts.

A case in point: U.S. new-car and truck sales plunged to a 30-year low of around 633,000 vehicles last month, a 53% decrease from April 2019, according to industry analyst Edmunds.com. Automakers such as Toyota and Honda reported their sales in April were cut in half compared to a year ago.

Click here to read the full story.

You Can Still Buy and Sell a Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Spring is usually the busiest time of year for real estate. It’s when house hunters and home sellers come out of hibernation mode and descend on the market in droves. But this year—in the era of COVID-19—is different.

The coronavirus outbreak has rocked the economy and upended many industries, including real estate. As Americans across the country are sheltering at home, many home buyers are left wondering: Should I buy a home now, or wait until quarantine measures loosen and the economy picks up again? The same goes for sellers wondering when they should list their home.

Click here to read the full story.

Where Home Prices Are Heading in the Age of Coronavirus

Baltimore realtor Nicole Callender had five homes scheduled to hit the market April 1. Then the coronavirus struck and all of her clients decided to postpone. Now with home sales picking back up in the last two weeks, Callender is urging sellers to move forward, betting that life — and her city’s real estate market — will soon be back to normal.

“I have a listing coming up in Locust Point, which is a very desirable location,” says Callender, who hopes the house will soon fetch the $485,000 asking price. “The seller was on the fence…but when I sat down with them and showed them how quickly homes are selling in the city, they decided they want to list their home now to avoid missing out on a hot market.”

Click here to read the full story.

What to Do If You Lose Your Job Now

As the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic deepens, jobless claims have spiked to unprecedented levels, with a record 6.6 million Americans applying for unemployment benefits during the week that ended on March 28. That’s more than double the number who applied for benefits the week before, which had also been a record high. The number of jobless claims now far surpasses the levels seen during the worst of the financial crisis and Great Recession and have shattered the weekly record of 695,000 jobless claims set in October 1982 during a period of high inflation across the country.

Click here to read the full story.

Planning a Wedding at Home? Here Are a Few Things to Consider

While many couples around the world are canceling or postponing their weddings because of the coronavirus pandemic, some are scaling down their plans and getting married at home.

Justine Roach, 31, and Hrishikesh Desai, 37, who are from Los Angeles, had originally planned to marry March 21 at Ojai Valley Inn, a resort in Ojai, Calif., before about 200 guests. The couple instead chose to exchange vows on the same day at the Beverly Hills home of the bride’s parents, with only their immediate family of six present.

Click here to read the full story.