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Kenneth R. Harney

business columnist

Recent Stories

Harney: Mortgage deals good at credit unions

By Kenneth R. Harney April 20, 2015 6 a.m.

Want to buy your first home with little or nothing down and maybe get a refund on part of your realty agent's commission?

Harney: Reverse mortgage papers on the rise

By Kenneth R. Harney April 13, 2015 6 a.m.

Interested in a reverse mortgage without a lot of hassles? Better get your application in fast. As of April 27, the federal government is imposing a series of extensive "financial assessment" tests that will make applying for a reverse mortgage tougher — much like applying for a standard home mortgage.

Harney: Should you place a bet on home?

By Kenneth R. Harney April 6, 2015 6 a.m.

So you've watched your home equity holdings grow steadily since the end of the recession and now you want to tap into that wealth to fund a remodeling, college tuition or some other worthy but cash-consuming project?

Harney: Public gets to sound off on financial institutions

By Kenneth R. Harney March 30, 2015 6 a.m.

Move over, Yelp. The federal government's top consumer agency has just begun allowing mortgage borrowers to vent publicly — in full narrative detail — about the bad experiences they've had with financial institutions.

Harney: Solar panels can cause a headache

By Kenneth R. Harney March 23, 2015 6 a.m.

Can going green by leasing solar panels for your roof cost you money — or headaches — when you go to sell the house?

Harney: Owners in distress may get some help

By Kenneth R. Harney March 16, 2015 6 a.m.

Although most real estate markets have rebounded from their recession lows, this harsh fact remains: About 7 million homeowners continue to be stuck in the tar pit of serious negative equity, with mortgage debt at least 25 percent higher than the value of their property, according to research firm RealtyTrac.

Harney: Now rent payments can help credit score

By Kenneth R. Harney March 9, 2015 6 a.m.

It's the great credit divide in American housing: If you buy a home and pay your mortgage on time regularly, your credit score typically benefits. If you rent an apartment and pay the landlord on time every month, you get no boost to your score — zip. Since most landlords aren't set up or approved to report rent payments to the national credit bureaus, their tenants' credit scores often suffer as a direct result.

Harney: 6% home sales fee isn't sacred

By Kenneth R. Harney March 2, 2015 6 a.m.

As a homebuyer or seller, do you really understand real estate commissions? Do you know how much a real estate agent who lists a house for sale typically gets? Equally important, how much the agent who brings you in as a buyer gets paid — in other words, how the total commission pie gets sliced up?

Harney: Rules for mortgages are easing, modestly

By Kenneth R. Harney February 23, 2015 6 a.m.

A closely watched index that tracks mortgage credit availability — lender requirements on credit scores, down payments and other key loan terms — has some good news for potential homebuyers: Things are finally loosening up.

Harney: Homeowner tax breaks appear safe, for now

By Kenneth R. Harney February 16, 2015 6 a.m.

Tax reform is revving up again on Capitol Hill, with the heads of key committees pledging to work toward a simpler and fairer tax code, possibly one with lower tax rates. Sounds intriguing.

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