Certified financial planner Louis Barajas answers a listener's letter this week.
Certified financial planner Louis Barajas answers a listener's letter this week. - 
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Time to answer some of your letters. We're focusing on housing this week. Glenn Kelman, CEO of real estate and technology company Redfin, joins guest host David Lazarus to help out a few of our listeners with their pressing real estate issues.

Nicole from Stone Mountain, Ga., bought a house with her husband in 2007. She is part of a dual-income household that's struggling with their underwater mortgages. She and her husband are thinking of short selling their home. They want advice on whether that's a good idea.

"What I would encourage you to do is to keep paying your mortgage. There was a time when you really had to stop paying your mortgage before anyone would pay attention to a short sale," says Kelman. "That's a dangerous game. That's a nuclear option. I don't think you want to do that especially since you can now get an FHA loan as long as your short sale involved a property where you'd been paying the mortgage for 12 consecutive months. So if you've been up to date on your mortgage, you can go ahead and apply for a short sale and still be able to buy another home using an FHA loan even if you turn right around and try to do that."

For more advice on whether buying a bigger house is a good investment and how to go about getting money for a remodel, click play on the audio player above.

The charts and graphs below illustrate changes in the housing market from the last year for some of America's biggest metro areas. Hear more from Kelman on whether the real estate industry is recovering.



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