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I would like to welcome you to my comprehensive Bowie, Mitchellville, Upper Marlboro, Silver Spring, Glenn Dale, Largo, Laurel, Davidsonville, Edgewater, Mayo, Crofton, Millersville, New Carrollton, Lanham, Greenbelt, Burtonsville, Hyattsville, and Odenton real estate website. No other site provides more detailed Bowie, Mitchellville, Upper Marlboro, Silver Spring, Glenn Dale, Largo, Laurel, Davidsonville, Edgewater, Mayo, Crofton, Millersville, New Carrollton, Lanham, Greenbelt, Burtonsville, Hyattsville, and Odenton real estate market information than you’ll find here

For buyers t here is detailed area and neighborhood information and a great MLS® search page. For sellers I provide information and data to help you to ready your home for market and to list it so it sells.

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The Bowie, Mitchellville, Upper Marlboro, Glenn Dale, Largo, Laurel, Davidsonville, Edgewater, Mayo, Crofton, Millersville, New Carrollton, Lanham, Greenbelt, Burtonsville, Hyattsville, and Odenton real estate website. No other site provides more detailed Bowie, Mitchellville, Upper Marlboro, Silver Spring, Glenn Dale, Largo, Laurel, Davidsonville, Edgewater, Mayo, Crofton, Millersville, New Carrollton, Lanham, Greenbelt, Burtonsville, Hyattsville, and Odenton real estate market is made up of diverse and interesting communities and neighborhoods. I’ll tell you about each of them and let you narrow your search to the very best for you.

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REAL ESTATE BLOG
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Inside Tommy Hilfiger's $75 Million Manhattan Penthouse

2015-04-24 07:05:00

Filed under: News, Buying, Celebrity Homes Zillow Tommy Hilfiger took three years to renovate his two-story, 6,000-square-foot penthouse at New York's famed Plaza Hotel. It is taking him about as long to sell it. The American fashion tycoon has dropped the price of the four-bedroom duplex to $75 million, the Real Deal reported. Hilfiger listed the penthouse in 2013 for $80 million just before he married his second wife, Dee Ocleppo. Before another round of renovations, Hilfiger once had it on the market for $50 million, according to Curbed. Hilfiger purchased the classic unit and a neighboring unit for $25 million in 2008 when it was marketed as a "fixer-upper," reported AOL Real Estate. Hilfiger says he likes that this residence is in an iconic building on Fifth Avenue, overlooking Central Park. "I always wanted to acquire trophy real estate because location, location, location is very important. As an investment you can't do better than that," he says in a CNNMoney video. The condo, on the 18th and 19th floors, has views of Central Park and Fifth Avenue from a private terrace. The Plaza is a fully staffed 24-hour white-glove condominium with a separate entrance from the hotel, according to the listing. Residents are offered the full complement of hotel services, including maid, valet and Todd English room service. "Only the most luxurious finishes and materials were used to restore this property to its original grandeur, complete with 21st Century conveniences," according to the listing. A round, domed room in a turret contains a custom mural paying homage to Eloise, a character from Kay Thompson's 1950s books about a girl who lives in the "room on the tippy-top floor" of the Plaza Hotel. "If you surround yourself with things you love, it makes for a great home design," Hilfiger told CNN. Zillow Zillow Zillow Zillow  Permalink | Email this | Comments

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How to Get Rid of Unhealthy Black Mold

2015-04-23 06:04:00

Filed under: How To Greg801/GettyThe disgusting stuff on your wall could be mold, black mold or mildew. Figuring that out is the first step in getting rid of it. Removing black mold from your home can sound like a daunting task. Just the term "black mold" sounds scary enough. If you're willing to buy the proper safety equipment and can stomach scrubbing and removing mold damage for up to a few weeks, you can save hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars. Deciding when to call in a professional is a personal decision, but there are two signs that black mold has progressed too far to easily remove it yourself, says David Olson of PuroClean, a property damage restoration company. "When the odor is becoming so bad that it's giving them a headache," or a finger can be pushed through drywall damaged by black mold, Olson says. Removal is charged by the square foot and varies by where you live, he says. Removing mold from and repairing a standard shower can cost from $1,600 to $4,500, Olson says. To avoid such costs, here are some ways to remove black mold in your home on your own: 1. Determine What it Is The musty smell under a sink may not be black mold -- which is a mold that has been left for quite awhile -- and may just be simple mold, Olson says. The difference is that mold is a live spore, while black mold could be toxic. Mildew, for example, is often confused with being mold, but it can be easily cleaned with bleach or other surface cleaners. Not all visible molds that are black are dangerous, and mold testing may be needed to confirm if toxic spores are in your house, according to the website BlackMoldRemoval.com. Homeowners should test their homes every three to five years for potential mold problems, says Caroline Blazovsky, a healthy home expert. "Not all mold problems are visible," Blazovsky says. "Sometimes, you get lucky and see mold growing on areas like basement walls or bathroom walls to know there is a problem. But, many times mold is in between walls behind showers, underneath flooring and under kitchen appliances -- places we cannot get to." She recommends doing a mold air test with a professional air pump sampler, either with a certified inspector or a DIY kit. 2. Find the Source and Stop the Damage If you see or smell black mold in your house, it's probably in an area of high moisture, such as a bathroom that isn't vented well enough, or from a water leak such as a leaking pipe. Repair the leak before deciding if you're going to repair the damage yourself. Once moisture from water damage or condensation has been provided, mold will use a food source such as insulation, fabric, drywall or carpet to grow and cause damage. 3. Get an Inspection Hiring a professional to determine the amount of damage can be the safest way to figure out how much black mold is in your home and help you understand how to fix it. An industrial hygienist can test rooms other than where the mold was found to determine if it has grown to other areas. If you decide to go with a professional mold removal company, their experts will tell you what steps to take next, such as possibly leaving the house while they do their work. To protect your family's health, a professional mold removal company is the best way to go. If you decide to do the work yourself, continue the following steps. 4. Wear Protective Gear According to BlackMoldRemoval.com, you'll need to start by buying mold removal gear to protect yourself from airborne mold spores. Use an N-95 respirator, available online or at a local hardware store for from $20 to $50. You'll also need gloves, goggles, long-sleeved shirts and pants. Everyone else should leave the house during cleanup. 5. Seal Affected Areas Water damaged rooms and rooms with potential mold growth should be sealed with heavy-duty plastic sheets to contain airborne spores. Force mold spores out windows with negative pressure from an exhaust fan. 6. Discard Water-Damaged Material After the water damage has been contained, allow the area to dry for up to 48 hours. Porous materials such as carpet, drywall and fabric may retain moisture. Toss water-damaged materials that show signs of mold growth. 7. Scrub Away Visible mold can be scrubbed off hard surface with water and detergent. Then allow the surfaces to dry thoroughly. If mold has dried, lightly spray the area with water before cleaning to prevent the release of airborne spores. Commercial mold removal products can be used, but the EPA discourages using chlorine bleach to remove mold. Natural mold removal agents include hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, tea tree oil, and baking soda. There are a lot of misconceptions about how to get rid of and prevent mold, with one of the most popular being that bleach is best, says Pete Duncanson, a mold remediation expert at ServiceMaster Restore. Bleach has a reputation of killing mold and everything else, but it doesn't because the mold doesn't die. It only goes dormant, Duncanson says. "Consumer products reduce discoloration and the appearance of mold," he says, "but the only way to truly get rid of mold is to cut it out of an area," or call in a professional to manage larger issues such as mold in an HVAC system. 8. Clean All Surfaces To prevent mold from returning, clean all surfaces thoroughly to remove residual spores. Allow all surfaces to dry. Dry vacuum the room with a HEPA filter vacuum to remove embedded spores. 9. Toss Mold-Cleaning Equipment Put anything that was used in the black mold cleanup in a heavy duty, sealed garbage bag. This should include clothing, sponges and other cleaning material. When to call a professional? Olson's recommendation is when mold returns after you've made numerous attempts to clean it yourself. That's a clear sign that something you're doing isn't working. Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Where the Stars Spend the Night

2015-04-22 18:20:00

Filed under: Buying, Celebrity Homes, Selling ZillowThis bedroom in the West Hollywood home of Harold Perrineau, star of "Lost," is appealing, but modest as L.A. goes. By Melissa Allison It's not often you can peer into the bedrooms of the rich and famous, but these homes for sale or rent are your chance. Harold Perrineau Zillow Lost? Nope, he's just down the street. After buying a house nearby, Perrineau listed this Spanish-style compound that oozes old-time Hollywood charm and boasts a walk-in closet big enough for the family's wardrobe and its own, um, island. The listing agents are Josh and Matt Altman of Douglas Elliman. Larry Ellison Zillow If the Winklevoss rental is out of your league, maybe this tech mogul's place will do. The Los Angeles Times reports that Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison is asking $65,000 a month for his Malibu cottage with ocean views, including from the bedroom. The rental agent is Beata Mandell of Executive Realty Group. Liam Gallagher Zillow Check out these Wonderwalls! The Oasis frontman, who's reportedly getting the '90s pop band back together, has been trying to sell his Manhattan digs with the snazzy leopard-print bedroom for the better part of a year. The listing agents are Tal and Oren Alexander of Douglas Elliman. Trent Reznor Zillow Not to be outdone, the frontman for Nine Inch Nails, a band that already staged a comeback, has listed his place in Beverly Hills, Trulia reported. It has a private balcony with show-stopping views of the city and is listed by Richard Stearns of Partners Trust. Josh Hamilton Zillow And finally, it's the embattled baseball star's bedroom with the fireplace, the chandelier and the ocean view. The Dallas Morning News -- which recently reported the Los Angeles Angels player had filed for divorce around the time news of his substance-abuse relapse broke -- also reported the listing in the Newport Coast community in Orange County, California. (Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant also recently put a house on the market there.) The agent is Kevin Aaronson of The Aaronson Group.  Permalink | Email this | Comments

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For Earth Day: 22 Shades of Green

2015-04-21 17:08:00

Filed under: Design, Home Improvement, How To Courtesy of MandibuleThe Positive Energy ECOXIA House in Yerres, France, is a certified Passivhaus, built for sustainability and efficiency. There are many options available for those who want to build a "green" house. The number of sustainable and energy-efficient options used in the construction is dependent on budget, taste and the level of desire to be independent of the grid and utilize sustainable practices. Here is a checklist of things to consider when building or remodeling a home to be sustainable and energy efficient: 1. Insulation First and foremost, use excellent insulation. Be sure there is adequate insulation, whether it is spray foam, cellulose, fiberglass, etc. The foundation, attic and exterior walls must all be properly insulated. 2. Air Sealing Be sure to check for air infiltration. This can be done with a blower door test that will show where outside air is coming into the house. A tightly sealed home requires less heating and cooling. 3. Windows Buy the best windows you can with your budget. Today there are many options in design, frame material, color and efficiency of windows. There are double and triple-pane windows, as well as gas-filled ones. Even frames can be insulated. Also, when designing a home, it is wise to have more windows on the south side of the house to take advantage of solar gain. Having fewer windows on the north side of the house prevents solar loss in those areas. 4. Appliances Use ENERGY STAR-rated appliances. They consume far less energy than non-rated ones. That saves energy and dollars throughout the life of the appliance. 5. Non-toxic Materials Make sure all stains, finishes, paints and adhesives are no-VOC or low-VOC. These toxins can continue to seep into the air and can cause illness and discomfort. 6. FSC-certified Wood Using wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council helps provide healthy forests for future generations. 7. Passive Solar Orientation Orient the house for optimal solar gain, if possible. This limits the need for artificial lighting and saves money on electricity, while also reducing energy costs. 8. Footprint Limit the hallways in the house. Space should be used efficiently so there are fewer square feet to heat and cool. When a house is well designed, less space can still provide all the areas and functions desired. 9. Multi-functional Rooms For example, a guest bedroom can easily work as an office or playroom when friends or family are not visiting. Courtesy of Jim TetroThe 4D House built by Team Massachusetts for the Solar Decathlon has a partition wall that can be closed for privacy in the bedroom or opened to increase the entertaining area. 10. Flexible Rooms Walls can sometimes be moved to open up space for entertaining, as seen in a house built by students at the University of Massachusetts for the Solar Decathlon, a competition staged by the U.S. Department of Energy. 11. Ventilation To maintain a healthy indoor environment, a tightly built house requires adequate ventilation. Heat recovery ventilators and energy recovery ventilators are systems that continuously exchange the stale inside air with fresh outside air, while retaining the warmth or coolness already created in the house. 12. Low-flow Faucets and Showerheads and Dual-flush Toilets Both of these substantially reduce the water being used in the house. 13. Recycled, Reused, and Reclaimed Materials This limits our depletion of natural resources as well as the amount of material that goes into landfills. There are many types of recycled, reused and reclaimed materials -- including countertops made with recycled glass, reclaimed flooring and antique furnishings. 14. Lighting LED and CFL lighting uses less energy than incandescent bulbs and the bulbs last much longer. The cost of these efficient bulbs is going down, and the variety of bulbs available has expanded. 15. Large Overhangs Large overhangs around the house block the sun's heat in the summer months when the sun is high in the sky. In the winter, when the sun is lower in the sky (in the northern hemisphere), overhangs allow the sun to come in through the windows and help heat the house. 16. An Efficient Water Heater Traditional water heaters maintain a tank full of warm water and are continuously using energy. Tankless water heaters heat water on demand. 17. Native Plant Landscaping Using plants indigenous to the area limits the need for irrigation and fertilization. 18. Permeable Paving Using paving materials that are permeable, such as gravel, allows rainwater and melted snow to return to the water table. 19. Solar Hot Water Panels The cost of solar panels is coming down and there are subsidies available to reduce the cost further. Hot water panels can be used to heat the household's water or be used as part of a radiant heating system. 20. Photovoltaic Panels PV panels can be used to reduce or eliminate the electric load. While connected to the grid, they can provide electricity when it is needed and receive electricity when the sun is not out. Extra electricity can also be returned to the grid to reduce electric costs. 21. Thermal Mass Stone and other high-mass materials can be used to absorb energy when the sun beats down on them. That heat (or coolness) can later be released when it is needed. Some houses have stone around the periphery of the room where the sun is most likely to hit. 22. Heating System A heating and cooling system that limits the energy consumed should be used. Heat pumps are becoming more popular in this country and quite popular around the world. They can be used successfully when the house is built with a very energy-efficient envelope. Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Mortgage Rates Slightly Down at 3.53% and Holding Steady

2015-04-21 17:03:00

Filed under: Buying, Financing, Refinancing ZillowThe weekly mortgage rate chart illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate in six-hour intervals. By Lauren Braun Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed loans fell this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgages at 3.53 percent, down 5 basis points from this time last week. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell early in the week, then hovered around 3.53 percent for the rest of the week. "After dipping early last week on soft economic data, rates have been remarkably flat," said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. "This week we expect rates to remain largely unchanged with no big data releases or economic news on the horizon." Additionally, the 15-year fixed rate Tuesday morning was 2.81 percent. For 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.73 percent. Check Zillow Mortgages for rate trends and up-to-the-minute rates for your state, or use the mortgage calculator to calculate monthly payments at the current rates.  Permalink | Email this | Comments

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12 Double-Duty Tips for Household Items

2015-04-18 00:01:00

Filed under: Home Improvement, How To, Lifestyle Getty We all have too much stuff and too little room. So our things must work harder for us. Here are surprising uses for 12 household items you already have. Click through the slideshow to learn creative ways to get more out of the things you already have.  Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Whittier, Alaska: A Town Where Everybody Knows Your Name

2015-04-17 13:14:00

Filed under: Buying, Lifestyle ZillowThe Alaska town of Whittier features mountain views and spectacular wildlife. Condos are listed for $50,000 and less. How would you like to live in a small seaside town with snow-capped mountain views, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city? The mayor is your neighbor, and so is the police chief. The people are friendly -- and when you live there, just about everybody knows your name. In the Alaska town of Whittier, population 218, some are living such a "dream." And for a mere $49,500 for a two-bedroom condo, you could buy in to this life. A three-bedroom unit is $55,000. The catch? Well, there's winter. Plus, most of the town's residents live under the same roof in a 14-story former military housing facility known as Begich Towers, reports NPR. The city government is housed on the main floor. So is the post office and a small grocery store, the Kozy Korner. There's a church in the basement. You rarely have to leave home if you don't want to. The school, serving elementary and secondary students, is even conveniently accessed through a pedestrian tunnel so the children can roll out of bed and get to school -- in short sleeves -- without ever having to go outside. That's especially convenient in the winter, when winds can get up to 60 mph and 250 inches of snow fall annually. The town's only playground is even indoors, reports the California Sunday Magazine. If you do venture out, Anchorage is only an hour away. Get your fill on some finer dining or catch the latest flick, but don't stay out too late. The 2.5-mile, one-lane Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel you have to drive through to get back home to the west side of Prince William Sound closes at 10:30 p.m. for those entering Whittier, according to Alaska.org. If you're late, you just might have to sleep in your car or head back to the big city for a hotel stay. The tunnel doesn't open again for incoming traffic until 5:30 a.m. The single lane, supported above a working railroad track, is shared with outgoing traffic, alternating at 30-minute intervals. If this serene life documented in a PBS video is not for you after all, maybe you'd still consider investing in a condo as rental property. Whittier is a major tourist attraction in the summer. With its 22 hours of daylight, more than 700,000 visitors come each year. "If you are a birder, come enjoy our world-class collection of raptors such as the bald eagle, the great gray owl and the elusive peregrine falcon," boasts Mayor Daniel Blair on the city's website. "During our glorious summer, we are often visited by humpback and orca whales [as well as] sea otters along with seals and sea lions." Interested? The out-of-state owner of the three-bedroom unit already has a renter, according to the property listing by Keller Williams Realty Alaska Group. But the tenant gets a 30-day notice to vacate if you want the place just for yourself. Sheree R. Curry is an award-winning, 20-year veteran journalist who has been writing for AOL Real Estate since 2009. Send her your tips & ideas. Follow her on Twitter at shereecurry. Permalink | Email this | Comments

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The Pure House

2015-04-15 13:56:00

Filed under: Design, Home Improvement, House of the Day Courtesy of The Pure HouseEnergy efficient homes can cost about 10% more to build, but can pay off dramatically in savings over time. An optimistic view of housing in the future is that all homes will be built to require minimal energy to operate and to be healthy living environments. One example is the Pure House in Westport, Connecticut. Built using a prefabricated, high-efficiency panel system, it meets the criteria. Although the builders opted not to have the house certified, it follows the concepts and engineering requirements of the rigid Passive House standards, first developed in Germany. The house is equipped with four zoned high-efficiency heat pumps, the main source of heating and cooling. People sometimes are skeptical that these heat pumps are sufficient for cold New England climates, but because the house was built with such a tight thermal envelope, a more elaborate heating and cooling system was not required. All insulation in the house is thicker than required by Connecticut building codes. To minimize the need for electricity, the house is equipped with LED lights, which use far less energy, and Energy Star-rated appliances. The house even has a charging station for an electric car. American-made products were used throughout the construction, including high-performance, triple-pane windows and doors, as well as sustainable materials such as EcoTimber, a type of engineered wood flooring. The materials sourced for the construction and interior design were chosen for their healthy, non-toxic composition. As an example, the kitchen and bathroom fixtures by Grohe are all lead-free. All the paint, stains, glues and other materials used in the construction are as non-toxic as possible, to maintain a healthy environment inside the house. A heat recovery ventilator exchanges the stale interior air with the outside fresh air continuously through the day and night. The landscape is designed for zero runoff and the native planting requires no irrigation system or fertilization. "What I like most about building Pure Houses is the incredible air quality. Breathing fresh air all the time, that is what it's about" says Doug Mcdonald, founder of the Pure House​. Although, Mcdonald admits there is a small up-charge (approximately 10%) for building such an efficient house, he also conveys the long-term savings in energy costs. He says his houses use about 90% less energy than the conventional houses in the area. Mcdonald says the Pure House "is born from the same model that brought you restaurants that serve 'farm-to-table' food and the reason why you shop at your local farmers market. You want to know that the ingredients are pure and natural and good for you."  Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Mortgage Rates Inch Upward to 3.58%

2015-04-14 18:35:00

Filed under: Buying, Financing, Refinancing ZillowThe weekly mortgage rate chart illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate in six-hour intervals. By Lauren Braun Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed loans rose this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgages at 3.58 percent, up 3 basis points from this time last week. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose throughout the week before dipping to the current rate on Tuesday. "Rates inched up last week as new data suggested the U.S. economy is on increasingly stable ground despite March's weak jobs report," said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. "Mortgage markets remain extremely sensitive to the ups and downs of economic news, but overall we expect the trend of gradually rising rates to continue this week." Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate this morning was 2.87 percent. For 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.83 percent. Check Zillow Mortgages for mortgage rate trends and up-to-the-minute mortgage rates for your state, or use the mortgage calculator to calculate monthly payments at the current rates.  Permalink | Email this | Comments

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3 Things You Didn't Know About Government-Backed Loans

2015-04-10 07:41:00

Filed under: Buying, Financing, Selling Shutterstock Conventional loans are the foundation of the mortgage industry. In a recent week, only about one in four prospective borrowers applied for a government-backed loan, according to survey data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs basically insure home loans made by participating lenders. These loans tend to have more lenient credit and underwriting requirements compared to conventional loans, which carry no government backing. FHA and VA loans feature benefits that can be the right fit for the right buyer at the right time. To be sure, they also come with their own drawbacks. But there are misconceptions surrounding government-backed loans that can cloud the home-buying process and hurt both buyers and sellers. Let's take a quick look at three benefits of government-backed loans that tend to fly under the radar. They Have Lower Average Interest Rates Many buyers assume they can get the best interest rate with a conventional mortgage. Depending on your credit, the size of your down payment and other factors, that might be exactly the case. But every buyer's credit and asset picture is different. More important -- and perhaps surprisingly -- average interest rates actually tend to be lower on government-backed loans. In February, the average note rate on a 30-year fixed conventional loan was 4.08 percent, according to mortgage technology firm Ellie Mae. That was the lowest average rate since June 2013. In comparison, the average rate for a fixed 30-year FHA loan was 3.94 percent, while the average for VA loans was even lower, at 3.77 percent. Monthly averages are just that -- averages. The rate you are quoted will depend on the lender, your credit and finances and more. But don't automatically rule out a government-backed loan when you're shopping for the best deal. In fact, government-backed borrowers with fair or so-so credit might be able to tap into the same or similar interest rates as a conventional buyer. They Don't Take Forever to Close Another common misconception about government-backed loans is that they take forever to close. This one is probably rooted in some old truths, mostly because of the paperwork and bureaucracy that can accompany these loan types. But automation, online systems and a greater focus on efficiency has helped the government loan programs catch up. For buyers, the "time to close" clock starts once you're under contract on a home. At that point, on average, there's really no difference between a conventional mortgage and a government-backed one. The average conventional purchase loan closed in 39 days in February, according to Ellie Mae. For VA and FHA loans, it was a day longer. On the refinance side, FHA refinances closed in 33 days on average, surpassing both conventional loans (36 days) and VA loans (37 days). They're More Likely to Close Sellers and lenders want to see prospective buyers make it to closing day. Veterans, service members and the historic VA home loan program all stand above the rest when it comes to closing success. A full 73 percent of the VA purchase loan applications made over the previous 90 days went on to close, according to the February data from Ellie Mae. That's compared to 68.8 percent of conventional purchase applications and just 62.8 percent of FHA applications. Government-backed loans aren't the solution for every buyer. In fact, only a relatively small percentage of the population is even eligible for a VA home loan. But getting a better understanding of all your mortgage options is key to getting the best deal. Don't let stereotypes or misconceptions keep you from making the strongest home loan comparison possible. Permalink | Email this | Comments