Smart Things To Do After Buying A Home
Prior to closing on the purchase of a home the new homeowner to be should consider what types of services they will be needing for the home. For some of those services calls should be made prior to closing so as to make sure upon moving day the house has power, water and any other services needed to make sure everything goes smoothly. Most services that are acquired for a home are obtained by contacting the provider directly and letting them know the date the service needs to be turned on. This article explores what kind of service providers should be contacted by new homeowners and offers advice on avoiding getting overcharged through those claiming to be service brokers.
When To Request Services
As mentioned above for some services the service providers should be contacted before closing in order to make sure services like power, water, and internet are switched over to the new owners name in time for when they need to move in. With some companies a call should be made at least a couple of days before so that they have enough time to process the change in names of who will be paying for the bill. This is especially important for the electric, gas and water bill as many sellers will request the service be taken out of their name as soon as closing day in order to not spend any extra money than they have to. If the home being purchased has a sump pump the lack of power can cause water backup in the basement which will end up in a big mess for the new homeowners to take care of. The home sellers are not expected to...
What Happens When The Sellers Refuse To Move Out Of The Home
When buying a home the homebuyer goes in with the expectation that the homeowner is ready to sell and move to a new home, sometimes thought that may not always be the case. For whatever reason a homeowner may have second thoughts on leaving a home after the buyer has had all the inspections and appraisal done. What is a buyer to do in those situations? The answer depends on whether the seller is refusing to move before or after closing as to what actions a buyer can take and is explored further in this article.
Seller Refuses To Move Before Closing
Prior to closing the seller can outright tell their agent and the buyers that they changed their mind about selling their home and will refuse to close on the sale let alone move. The buyer’s options are limited in this case. Yes the homebuyer could sue to attempt to get the seller to sell their home but most courts rarely like to force people to sell their homes and instead are more likely to award damages to the buyer for actual losses (paying for inspections, appraisal, movers and more). Courts could also award punitive damages to the buyer in order to punish the seller for their lack of follow through on the contract. In the end though the buyer is without a house and must begin the process again of finding another home.
This is a situation that is hard for a homebuyer to avoid as there is no way to really tell if a home seller is really motivated to sell or is just listing the home on the market with no actual intent of...
4 Helpful Tips For Buying Your Next House
Whether you are buying for the first time or buying a subsequent home there are some tips to follow in order to make sure the home purchase is a successful one. With a home being one of the largest purchases a person will make in their lifetime it makes sense to go in with full planning and an understanding of how the buying process works. Any time wasted on bad strategies are just that, time wasted that could have been saved by putting you into a home sooner. This article explores some of the strategies homebuyers should be using and ones that may only lead to frustration.
Getting Pre-Approved For A Mortgage
While this is often talked about it bears repeating, shopping for a home without a mortgage pre-approval is a recipe for frustration. The mortgage pre-approval not only gives you an idea of how much home you can purchase it also can give you an idea of your monthly payments. A $200,000 dollar house does not mean you divide $200,000 by 360 months (12 monthly payments times 30 years mortgage) and that is your payment. Your ultimate mortgage payment not only depends on the house price, but also on the taxes and insurance you will be paying for the house. So when getting a pre-approval make sure to ask your lender about the monthly payments that include principal, taxes and insurance.
Since taxes and insurance can vary on the value of the home and the location those numbers are subject to change. As a result if you do find a home that you like be sure to ask your lender to calculate the monthly payments for you based on the taxes you will be...
Tips For Buying A Foreclosure Home
Oftentimes buyers may hear that a particular home is a bank or government owned home which is also known as a foreclosed home. A foreclosed home is a home that the prior homeowner has stopped paying the mortgage on and the lender takes the homeowner to court in order to take possession of the home in to try and recover money that is owed to them. Foreclosed homes must go through a full foreclosure hearing in a court in order to make sure the debt is valid and the homeowner has legitimately stopped paying back on the mortgage. Once back in the possession of the mortgage lender they may or may not make some repairs if needed and will put the home on the market for a new buyer to purchase. For some mortgage loans that are backed by government mortgage programs (like FHA, VA, USDA) the government will ultimately take possession of the home and eventually sell it back on the open market.
If you are considering buying a home that has been foreclosed upon this article is article is for you as it will provide tips on how to make the best of buying a foreclosure home.
Where Do You Find Foreclosure Homes For Sale
Just as most homes are found on the Internet via the Multiple Listing System (MLS) many foreclosure homes make it to the MLS as well when being listed for sale. On occasion depending on the lender and the condition of the home sometimes homes make it to select auction sites in order to limit who can buy the home and as a result may not be found on the MLS. Foreclosure homes in very poor condition sometimes will be sold with cash offer only requirement since the condition will not meet appraisal standard for traditional...
Tips For Choosing The Right Neighborhood
Finding the right neighborhood is just as important as finding the right house, as the right house in a neighborhood that does not work for you can lead to eventual dissatisfaction with the house. Neighborhoods encompass many different aspects so it pays to do your research fully and understand what a particular neighborhood may or may not offer. The perfect neighborhoods for a family with kids may not be the perfect neighborhood for an empty nest couple or a single person looking for a home. This articles looks at some of the things homebuyers should be considering in a neighborhood when shopping for a home.
The location of a neighborhood is key. Living in a great neighborhood fifty miles away from your workplace may leave you with little time to enjoy your neighborhood since you have to spend more time driving back and forth to work. So while there may be a great neighborhood fifty miles away that does not mean you should be considering it unless your employer offers benefits like working from home rather than having to come into the office every day. Long commute times can be stressful and result in many wasted hours that should instead be spent enjoying time with your family or enjoying your neighborhood.
The neighborhood location in terms of the community amenities and features are also something to consider. Being in a more rural area you are less likely to find recreation centers, shops, malls and...
Smart Tips For Buying A Waterfront Home
Waterfront properties for some are highly desirable either for the ability to use a boat or some sort of other water recreation vehicle or for the great views. Waterfront views can add significantly to the price tag of a luxury home with a great view of a lake, river or ocean. While waterfront properties may offer excellent views and offer more value there are still some things to be aware of when considering the purchase of a waterfront home as this article explores.
New Construction vs. Existing Home
If you are building a new home with waterfront access the build method may be different when it comes to the foundation. Depending on the condition of the sub-surface where the house will ultimately rest upon different kinds of supports may be needed to ensure the house is stable after being built. Also depending on whether the water levels can come up to or beyond the house the house may need to be raised in order to limit its exposure to the water. In order to make sure the house is setup properly from the start homebuyers should make sure their builders are using qualified engineers to analyze the ground below where the house will be built in order to make sure the right type of foundation support is used.
If you are considering an existing waterfront home then in addition to having a regular home inspection it would be wise to have a structural engineer look over the home to make sure the foundation is strong and secure so that your investment does not go floating off into the water or get damaged due to a shifting foundation. Depending on when the home was built and whether there are any plans still available that show...
Buying A Home As A Single Parent
Buying a home can be a challenging task that requires plenty of attention to detail and the ability to research homes, neighborhoods and schools. There are many different housing styles, different locations and more to consider when looking for a home. Add to that being a single parent and there is a lot more that one person has to handle on their own in order to make sure they get the right home that meets all of their family needs. This article explores some tips and ideas for the single parent to help make their home buying decision easier on them and their family.
Hire A Realtor
First and foremost hiring a Realtor will set you on the right track towards finding a home. The Realtor or real estate agent helps home buyers and sellers on a daily basis with their real estate needs. It is their job to know local markets and to help get homebuyers the information they need during all crucial stages of the home buying process.
Don’t get offended though when the real estate agent starts asking for you to get pre-approved for a mortgage. While you may have a price range in mind for a home or have an idea of what monthly payment you can afford, until you go through the pre-approval process you will not know if your assumptions are correct which could lead to a big disappointment if you find a home you like and find out it was out of your mortgage pre-approval range. A mortgage pre-approval is a deep dive into your credit and income history. You may have a great job but not a very long credit history which could hinder your getting a mortgage for the amount you can truly afford. Or...
Common Expenses New Homeowners Need To Plan For After Buying A Home
Many first time homebuyers in the excitement of getting their first home may not be aware of some common expenses they can expect with the purchase of a home and could neglect to budget for that. Some of those expenses like closing costs are an absolute requirement that must be paid otherwise the homebuyer will not be able to close on their home and move into it. Other expenses may vary but do need to be considered by the homebuyer so that they have the money ready to do certain things when the time comes.
One major expense of purchasing a home, and that is usually due right up front upon the final transfer of a home, are closing costs. Closing costs represent the fees associated with getting a mortgage and registering the new house in the buyer’s name. If the buyer is using a low down payment or zero down payment mortgage they may be in for a surprise if they don’t have enough money to pay for closing costs. Even with a zero down payment mortgage (VA, USDA) the homebuyer may be required to bring a check to the closing table in order to pay for the closing costs. If the buyer cannot pay for the closing costs they cannot complete the sale for the home.
The money used to pay for closing costs also generally must come from income sources of the homebuyer and cannot come from credit cards or other forms of loans. Gifts of money from parents or other relatives can be used to pay closing costs but the lender will generally want to trace...
What Does It Mean That A Home Is Available For Short Sale And Should You Buy Such A Home?
Ever run across a home listed for sale and the words in the marketing remarks mention short sale? Often times there is no room to explain what a short sale is or what it involves so homebuyers may be left confused by the term and unsure if they should consider buying a short sale home or not. This article explores what a short sale home exactly is and discusses whether homebuyers should consider purchasing a home that is being sold as a short sale.
What Does Short Sale Mean With Regards To Selling A Home?
A short sale is the process whereby the mortgage lender agrees to allow the homeowner to sell their home for less than the amount that is owed on the mortgage. A mortgage lender does not have to agree to any sale of home unless they are getting paid in full everything owed to them. Mortgage lenders generally have a first position lien (generally the highest priority in rank unless taxes are involved) meaning they must be paid off first with the proceeds from any sale.
A homes value may be less than the amount of the mortgage due to factors such as a decline in the overall value in a neighborhood, the homeowner owing more than the home is worth (this is not as common as it was in the past when lenders allowed 125% mortgages but can happen with multiple loans like a regular mortgage and home equity loan), a condition issue with the home or the land, lack of upkeep or something else. Where the homeowner plans up making up the difference between a ...
Why Do Homes Return Back To The Market After Having Accepted An Offer
Once a homeowner has accepted an offer on their home there is still a process to undergo before the actual transfer of ownership takes place. There are a number of contingencies that must be met prior to closing where the actual ownership of the home is transferred to the buyers. Once an offer is accepted the status of the home in the Multiple Listing Service is usually changed to “Pending” to reflect that an offer has been accepted and closing is waiting on certain things to happen before it finally can close. This article explores some of the common reasons a home may fall out of pending status and come back to the market for sale.
One of the more common reason a home falls out of contract is due to inspection issues. A majority of homebuyers opt to have a home inspection performed after an offer is accepted. A home inspector will inspect a home to check for any major issues and provides a report to the buyers detailing the overall condition of the home. Some of the common major home inspection issues uncovered can cause a buyer to walk away from their purchase if they feel the cost of dealing with the issues are too high and/or they could not come to agreement with the seller to either have the seller make repairs or reduce the price.
In some situations like foundation or structural issues, roof in need of replacement, mold issues or more homebuyers may feel...
5 Important Home Buying Pitfalls To Be Aware Of
When buying a home there are a number of problem areas homebuyers can spot off right at the get go and know that the home may end up to be more trouble (or cost) than it is worth. By understanding these problem areas and either avoiding the home or making an offer according to the current condition homebuyers can save themselves some extra expense from having to fix certain issues. This article explores five common pitfall areas homebuyers may encounter and what the downsides of those problems can be.
Every home is built on some sort of foundation. Whether there is a basement underneath the home or a slab, the foundation is what holds a home up and holds it in place. The foundation in combination with the land around it dictates how the foundation will standup throughout time. Homes built into hillsides or areas with a lot of surface or sub-surface water flow are more prone to foundation issues.
Common foundation issues include settling, cracking, shifting and more. Most home foundations do settle minor amounts over time mainly due to the total weight of the home. As long as the settling is minor and even there should not be much cause for concern. Where the home settling is more than normal during a short period of time or happens unevenly then without costly repairs the structure of the house will begin to suffer. Shifting foundations where the basement walls are collapsing inward or outward can also subject a home to major damage. Until secured in place with additional supports those shifting walls can keep...
Tips For Saving Up For A Down Payment On A Home
Many may dream of owning a home but feel like they could never come up with enough money to make the down payment and pay for closing costs. Saving up for a down payment on a home can seem like a huge task especially with the day to day bills and living expenses getting in the way. As the saying goes where there is a will there is a way and if you want to buy a home there are plenty of low down payment options available. With the right plan you can save enough money for a down payment and start to enjoy the benefits of homeownership.
How Much Down Payment Is Needed To Buy A Home
In some cases homes can be purchased with no money down. If you are a veteran or qualify for a Veteran’s Administration (VA) loan due to being in the armed services you can purchase a home without any down payment at all. Even if you are not a veteran you can purchase homes in certain rural areas using the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mortgage loan that also provides for no money down loans. While the USDA mortgage does have certain income limits the VA loan does not. For the USDA mortgage the income limits are different based on the size of the household.
Other federally backed mortgages like the FHA loans allow for homes to be purchased with as little as 3.5% down. So on a $100,000 home 3.5% down means only having to come up with $3500 for the down payment. Even with the $3500 down requirement some buyers may be eligible...
Guide To The Home Inspection Process When Buying A Home
An important part of buying any home is the home inspection process. During the home inspection home buyers get an in depth look at the home and the condition of various parts of the home. Homebuyers will learn if certain aspects of the home are in need of repair and which parts of the home are working fine. Through the home inspection process homebuyers ultimately learn if the purchase they are about to make is a sound purchase or one that should be reconsidered. This article explores the home inspection and how it can impact the purchase of a home.
How To Choose A Home Inspector?
Just as important as the home inspection is, it is also important to pick a qualified home inspection professional. In many states home inspectors are required to be licensed and in order to get licensed have to at least pass a test if not also have met some educational requirement and/or home inspection training requirement. Working with a licensed home inspector is a great way to make sure an inspector has met some minimum requirements.
In the situation where a state currently has no licensing requirements to be a home inspector (Ohio for example currently does not require licensing for home inspectors) then it is best to look at the training the home inspector has received and for any certifications they may also have. The International Association Of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI for short) represents one of the largest home inspection certification organizations in the United States. InterNACHI is a voluntary organization that trains and certifies home inspectors. There is...
What Is Earnest Money In A Real Estate Transaction?
Whether you are buying or selling a home chances are the question of earnest money will come up. Earnest money is not required as part of a real estate transaction. A contract to purchase a home requires and offer, acceptance (by both parties) and valuable consideration. The act of offering to buy a home with money (financed or cash) is the valuable consideration. Earnest money is part of the overall valuable consideration but on its own is not a requirement.
What Is Earnest Money?
The word earnest means “serious in intention, purpose, or effort;”. The earnest money part of an offer to purchase a home shows that the buyer is serious and willing to commit funds towards the home purchase. Generally there is no set amount that buyers should give as earnest money and customs may vary from state to state as to how much should be given. Some areas may suggest giving one percent of the total purchase price as earnest money whereas others may have a custom of giving a couple of thousand dollars or more based on the value of the home being purchased.
When an offer to purchase a home is written the homebuyer has the ability to specify the amount of earnest money to be provided as part of the offer. Generally the earnest money check will be collected and deposited right away upon acceptance of the offer. The earnest money can be deposited with either one of the real estate brokers who are party to the transaction and goes into their trust account. The earnest money can also be deposited with the closing/title company’s...
What Is The Purpose Of The Final Walkthrough When Buying A Home?
After an offer on a home has been made, appraisal completed, inspection done and repairs negotiated, one of the last activities done prior to the actual closing on the home is the final walkthrough. While a final walkthrough is not required it is highly recommended and serves a great purpose both for the home buyer as well as the home seller. In the final walkthrough a homebuyer makes one last tour of the home in order to see the condition the home will be in once the buyer takes possession. If there are major issues found during the final walkthrough then the buyer can refuse to close which means the transfer of ownership will not take place. Usually the closing is put on hold until the issue is taken care or although in the rare occasion a closing can be completely called off if something substantial is discovered during the final walkthrough.
After closing and taking possession of the home the buyer is generally responsible for everything associated with the home. Of course if the seller failed to properly disclose an issue that should have been disclosed then the buyer may have recourse against the seller, but that is a topic for another article. In this article the importance of the final walkthrough is explored along with suggestions for both the homebuyer and home seller as to what they should be doing prior to and during the final walkthrough.
How Should A Homebuyer Conduct The Final Walkthrough?
The final walkthrough is not a time to have another home inspection and look through the home with a fine tooth comb. A home inspector could be brought along to inspect a home...
What To Consider When Buying An Older Home
Depending on location, sometimes the only options available for a home to purchase are homes older than fifty years old. Homes older than fifty years old have their own unique architecture, design, and build condition and for many homebuyers the unique charm is what draws them in. Prior to buying an older home, homebuyers would be wise to read up on all the different issues they may encounter in an older built home so that they can better be prepared to identify if updates have been made or old conditions still exist that may need ongoing monitoring or updating.
The Home's Electrical System
Modern homes have electrical boxes with breakers rather than fuses and use copper wiring to run electricity to the various parts of the home. When older homes were built in the past often times the electrical wiring consisted of knob and tube wiring or aluminum wiring with a fuse box. Additionally prior to 1959 the use of a ground wire was not required in homes. A ground wire allows electricity to travel into the earth (ground) in the event of a short circuit as opposed to shocking the person flipping a switch or plugging in an electrical device.
A fuse box acts much as the circuit breaker boxes do today in that if too much power goes through the line a fuse would burn out stopping the flow of electricity. With a fuse box the fix was to replace the burned out fuse with a new fuse. Current circuit breaker boxes only need to be reset once and as long as the high power surge has stopped the power will start flowing again as normal. If an older home does still have a fuse box then homebuyers should have it inspected by a licensed electrician to make sure...
Buying A Home With A 203(K) Rehab Loan
Sometimes homebuyers may come across the fixer upper home and after repairs would appear have a good investment on their hands. Whether the homebuyer is handy or not at self-repairs they could get enough money to buy the home and make the repairs all with one mortgage loan. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) 203(k) mortgage loan allows homebuyers or homeowners to finance the cost of repairs into their total mortgage amount. There are two programs for homebuyers and homeowners, the limited 203(k) mortgage program which allows up to $35,000 worth of repairs and/or upgrades to be added to the total loan amount. Under the full 203(k) mortgage the cost of repairs/upgrades must at least total $5,000 and the upper limit is the total limit allowed for any FHA mortgage based on the area the home is located in.
As mentioned above the money does not need to be used for only repairs to a house. The money can also be used to make updates to a home such as upgrading an outdated kitchen, replacing an old roof, making energy efficiency upgrades (solar, geothermal) and more. The FHA 203(k) mortgage helps homeowners and homebuyers boost the value of homes and as a result local neighborhoods by allowing the upgrading or updating of homes needing it.
Who Can Use A 203(k) Mortgage To Purchase A Home?
The answer to the question of who can use the 203(k) mortgage to buy a home is only a homebuyer who will be occupying the home as their primary residence can use the loan. Investors who will not be occupying the property need not apply. On the other hand if a homebuyer plans on buying a 2-4 multi-unit...
7 Smarts Things To Do Prior To Buying A Home
Owning a home is a long term commitment that takes proper planning and preparation in order to make sure homeownership is successful over the long term. The preparation period prior to purchasing a home is not short. Instead the preparation time can be many months or more in order to ensure that homebuyers are in the best situation possible to apply for a mortgage to buy a home. The tips in this article will help homebuyers navigate through the preparation phase so that they can get the best possible mortgage now and not worry about having to seek better terms or better interest rates later on down the line.
1. Pay Down Debt
Paying down debt is something everyone should be doing regardless of whether or not they want to buy a home. More importantly though future homebuyers can greatly benefit by paying down debt by being able to get better interest rates as well as better terms for mortgages. If a homebuyer has too high of a debt to income ratio then the amount the homebuyer will be pre-approved for will be lower than if they had fewer or no debts. At a certain point of debt to income ratio the homebuyer may not be able to qualify for a mortgage at all.
Best strategies to pay down debt is to either pick the account with the smallest balance and pay that down first and then move onto the next account or to pay down the debt with the highest interest rate. Some psychologists suggest there may be a psychological benefit to paying off the smallest account first since that is one less bill to look at and a small psychological...
Buying A Home With A Septic System
Depending on the area where you are looking for a home you may find a home that has a septic system rather than a sewer line connection. Homes in some neighborhoods where the sewer lines have not been run instead have a septic tank which holds the waste water from the home. The holding tank has a number of different components but what it does is allow the waste from a home to decompose over time and work its way back into the ground in a harmless state. Some may say that a septic system is greener than a traditional sewer system since the homes waste goes into the immediate environment where it can be utilized immediately by the vegetation in your yard. With a sewer system the treatment of the waste happens at one central location which means many miles of piping to send the sewage to the right place. On the other hand improperly maintained septic systems can lead to backups and contaminated local land that can be costly to cleanup and damaging to the environment.
Inspecting A Septic System
Most home inspectors do not have the expertise to inspect septic systems. As a result depending on the age of the septic system and the condition of the land around the septic system it may be wise to have a separate inspection scheduled of the septic system. Septic systems that are not functioning properly can cause waste water to leak into the surround yard causing flooding issues as well as making the area not pleasant to be around due to bad odors. Poorly operating septic systems can also result in waste water backing up into the house causing further problems. Due to the expense associated with septic system repairs it is always advisable to have it inspected...
Where Can I Find Homes For Sale In My Market?
With all the homes available for sale in different markets homebuyers may not be sure where to find the most up to date information on homes available in their market. Unfortunately there is no one website where homebuyers can find a list of all homes currently available for sale. Homes listed for sale that have Realtors helping sell the home can be found on local real estate websites (through the local Multiple Listing Service or MLS) as well as on some of the national websites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia and more. Additionally homes will also be found on national real estate brokerage websites like United Real Estate, Coldwell Banker, RE/MAX, and more. Often times the national brokerage websites will redirect homebuyers to local area websites to make sure homebuyers connect with local agents when shopping for their home.
Homes that are listed For Sale By Owner (FSBO) may be found (though not always) on sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Craigslist, Ebay, Facebook market place groups, local classifieds, local bulletin boards, Realtor.com, local real estate websites and more. Some FSBO home sellers may be listed on the local MLS by paying for flat fee service some real estate brokerages provide whereby they will list the home on the MLS but provide no other services to the home seller. Services like photography, videos, online and offline marketing, lockboxes, screened showings and more are instead done by the FSBO seller themselves. ...