Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across the HousingWire weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.

Congratulations to the five winners of the Internal Revenue Service’s tax design challenge! And, come April 15, all of America will be thanking you for taking one of the most daunting financial days and making it simpler.

Toward the end of March, in a surprise partnership, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the IRS teamed up and announced a crowdsourced challenge to reimagine the taxpayer experience.

The five winners won anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 dollars, which was funded by the MBA.

To the MBA, the challenge was a way to improve the experience for the taxpayer, which, in turn, would help to improve the consumer experience for lending, according to Rick Hill, the MBA’s vice president of industry technology.

“The competition will touch on aspects of the taxpayer experience that relate to the origination of a loan,” Hill said. “Specifically, the industry uses tax data obtained directly from the IRS to ensure that the potential borrower has the income necessary to qualify for their loan.”

Check here for examples of the winners’ submissions, along with a brief bio.

The single-family rental market looked very appealing this past week thanks to a new white paper published from the National Rental Home Council.

For potential investors on the fence, NRHC outlined the pros and cons of single-family rentals versus apartments for investors and residents, along with the risks and opportunities associated with it.

Still on the fence about investing in housing after reading? and Ethan Roberts, a real estate writer, editor and investor, came up with the 10 commandments of choosing a profitable house to flip.

For investors who want to buy a home to flip rather than rent out, the list helps make sure it is a profitable flip.

Here’s a sneak peak at the first and second commandment:

  1. Thou shall choose a home with a good location.  Location is still the most important aspect of real estate investing.  Homes that are close to major thoroughfares, good schools, nice restaurants, shopping venues, and other desirables will sell the quickest and for the best price.  Other good locations include homes on or near the ocean or other large bodies of water, and homes near popular parts of town or nightlife.
  2. Thou shall choose a home in a decent neighborhood.   No matter how inexpensive the home may be, very few buyers want a home in a high-crime area.  Check the local crime statistics to avoid buying in a bad location.

For potential homebuyers looking to cash in on the market, Zillow published a list of 6 simple strategies to improve your credit score.

It comes at a good time too given that Zillow also announced this past week that it is about to launch an update to the algorithm that powers its Zestimates, which Zillow claims will improve the accuracy of the property value estimation tool across the country.

Here are the first three tips from Zillow:

1. Always make your payments on time

Better yet, only spend what you can expect to pay back at bill time, and pay off the balance every month.

2. Reduce your balances little by little

When it comes to reducing your overall debt, even throwing in an extra $20 or $50 a month will help. Plus, paying more than the minimum payment looks good on your credit report.

3. Don’t run up the entire balance

Just because you have a credit card with a $10,000 line of credit doesn’t mean you should use it all. For optimal marks on your credit report, it’s best to use 30 % or less of your available credit.

The Playboy Mansion finally found a buyer six months after it was put up for sale with a whopping $200-million sticker price, according to an article in the LA Times by Neal Leitereg.

However, the mansion only sold for half its sticker price: $105 million, the article stated.

From the piece:

Daren Metropoulos, the son of billionaire investor C. Dean Metropoulos, is in contract to buy Hugh Hefner’s longtime Holmby Hills residence.

The 89-year-old Playboy founder, who has worked and made his home at the mansion for decades, will be allowed to remain in residence for the remainder of his life – a condition of the sale. Metropoulos reportedly plans to combine the estate with a neighboring property that he bought from Hefner in 2009 for $18 million.

Lastly, as a social media bonus, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro posted this tweet last week involving the president and housing in honor of National Homeownership Month.

The Federal Insurance Deposit Corp. did not close any banks the week of June 10.