Agent

Converting home to rental more difficult

Fannie Mae holding borrowers to higher standards

The real estate event of the summer
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The housing market has been as uncertain as the next monthly unemployment figures. Families have put home purchases and remodeling projects on hold, waiting for a positive sign in consumer confidence -- or an upward, consistent move in the stock market -- to make a big-ticket decision. A friend of mine, whose two daughters are grown and gone, would like to remodel a home in the neighborhood, sell his present residence, and then move in to the remodel. Given the present conditions, he doesn't feel he can do either. He's uncomfortable with investing a ton of dollars on the remodel that he may otherwise need for day-to-day expenses, and he's afraid there's already too much inventory now on the market to list his home for sale. "The remodel may be closer," he said. "There are a lot of people out there now willing to work for a lot less than they were two years ago. If the drop in labor costs reaches a point that it equals what some of my investments have lost, it'...