Headed for your real estate closing? No matter which side of the table you'll be on, have a Plan B.
That's because a new study of real estate agents found that one-third of home-purchase transactions in September, October and November were postponed or went south. The study said 13 percent failed for mortgage-related reasons, a number described as "hefty" by Inside Mortgage Finance, the trade journal that sponsored the survey.
The 2,400 agents surveyed attributed the jump in mortgage-related problems to tighter underwriting standards and the elimination of many once-popular mortgages. The biggest problem, the agents said, was that their clients' credit scores were too low to qualify for loans.
The Chicago Public Library is hosting two sets of free programs on home buying at various branches around the city.
The first, Money Smart, is offered by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to explain the process of home buying:
*Feb. 2, 1 p.m, at the West Englewood Branch, 1745 W. 63rd St.
*Feb. 2, 2 p.m. (in English and Spanish), at the Humboldt Park Branch, 1605 N. Troy St.
*Feb. 9, 10 a.m. (in English and Chinese), at the Chinatown Branch, 2353 S. Wentworth Ave.
*Feb. 16, 11 a.m., at the Legler Branch, 115 S. Pulaski Rd.
*Feb. 26, 6:30 p.m., at the Archer Heights Branch, 5055 S. Archer Ave.
The second, Law at the Library, a monthly series on legal topics presented by the Chicago Bar Association, will focus on how to avoid common mistakes in buying and selling a home:
*March 4, 7 p.m., at the Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln Ave.
*March 8, 2 p.m., at the Woodson Regional Library, 9525 S. Halsted St.
*March 24, 12:15 p.m., at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St.
Visithttp://www.chicagopubliclibrary .org or call 312-747-4300.
Panning for gold
Peter Pan's home is for sale.
That would be the London home where author J.M. Barrie wrote the classic children's stories featuring Tinkerbell, Capt. Hook, et al., starting in 1902.
The six-bedroom Victorian adjacent to Kensington Gardens, where a sculpture of Peter Pan stands, is listed for about $13 million.
*The Fine Living Network wants to hear about "rental disasters," in Chicago, New York, Boston, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles -- and don't spare the details. The cable network, however, asks that you limit your saga to one paragraph (though you can include photos). Send it firstname.lastname@example.org.
*With her home in foreclosure, an Ontario, Calif., woman began trying to sell it piece-by-piece on CraigsList.com. The San Bernardino County Sun said city officials quickly stepped in with a court order to stop the sell-off of baseboards, fixtures, tile, grates, a sink and other parts of the home, which has a historic designation.
*Field & Stream magazine surveyed America's top fishermen to determine the best places for anglers to live. No. 1 went to Glenwood Springs, Colo. No Illinois towns hit the Top 10, though Traverse City, Mich., and Minocqua, Wis., placed third and fifth, respectively.
*A real estate trade group in Spain says that fully half of that nation's real estate agencies folded in the last year as its booming housing market slowed down.
The Superior Council of Real Estate agents announced that its membership had dropped to about 40,000 companies now from 80,000 at the beginning of 2007. About 100,000 employees lost their jobs.
Hear Mary Umberger on WBBM Newsradio 780 at 6:21 p.m. and 10:22 p.m. each Thursday and Friday and 7:20 a.m. each Saturday and Sunday.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun