Closing Costs Explained

Qualifying and being approved for a mortgage are only part of the financial responsibility of buying a home. There’s also a host of closing costs that, as a buyer, you should expect. Affordability is a topic on the minds of today’s buyers, so researching each of the following costs, large and small, is important.

1. Down Payment. This amount ranges widely depending on the dollar price of your home, but many financial experts recommend a down payment be at least 20 percent of the total cost of the house.

2. Credit Report and Score: Before you even think about buying a home, you need to verify the accuracy of your credit report and score. You may access your credit report three times a year for free at, but you generally must pay to view your credit score. This costs around $10 – $20.


By |February 24th, 2011|Categories: Buyers|0 Comments

Explaining Credit Scores

Have you ever wondered what makes up your credit score? The three major credit reporting agencies, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, use a number of factors to calculate your score.

Credit scores range from 300 to 850 and are a buyer’s key to attaining loans. From cars and homes to everything in-between, if you need a loan, you need good credit. The way it works is simple. A high score is a door to lower interest rates and larger sums of credit. The higher your score, the less of a risk your pose to a lender, and therefore the more likely they’ll be to approve you for a loan.

The score is compiled by analyzing the following:

1. Length of Credit History: The longer you’ve had credit the better. The agencies will be looking at the time that’s passed since accounts were opened, the time since account activity, and then the time passed since accounts were opened based on what type of accounts (


By |February 16th, 2011|Categories: Buyers|0 Comments

Why Hire a Real Estate Agent or REALTOR?

As spring rolls in, many people start listing their home for sale. The weather warms up and buyers, having recovered from the holidays, begin to house hunt.

Many buyers will go it alone. They hit the Internet for their first line of attack in house hunting. They peruse magazines and open houses. But they miss an important key player in their house-hunting mission–the real estate agent.

The real estate agent is not a go-between paper shuffler. Your real estate agent is the connection to the inside world of real estate. Yes, the Internet can provide you with lots of information, but it can’t replace a knowledgeable real estate agent.

Finding the best agent who meets your needs is like finding a good friend. I’m not kidding. Having to work with an agent that doesn’t understand your needs for housing can result in endless headaches, but working with an expert in the industry takes away the worry and stress, and streamlines the process.


By |February 11th, 2011|Categories: Buyers|0 Comments

Ready to Move Up?

Today’s market has created an environment where it is a great time to be a buyer. Interest rates are still at historical lows, the job market is improving, and affordability is near generational highs.

Those with growing families and steady jobs may be asking themselves if now is the time to “move up”. To answer this question, consider these points:

1. Finances: Is your job steady and secure? Moving up can mean taking on the responsibility of a bigger monthly mortgage payment, along with higher property taxes. And any buying process will involve fees and costs that add up quickly. If you have steady income and at least eight months of emergency fund saved up, then now could be a great time to move on up.


By |February 8th, 2011|Categories: Buyers|0 Comments

Property Rights of Unmarried Couples

First comes love, then comes marriage – or does the house come after love? More and more frequently, couples are moving in together and purchasing real estate without imminent plans to get married (or, with same sex couples, without a clear understanding of how their out-of-state marriage may affect property ownership). When a married couple gets divorced, the distribution of their marital property is governed by Domestic Relations law. But, what happens if unmarried property owners call it quits?

The answer depends on two things. The first is how the couple takes title to the property; the second is whether or not those couples have a written agreement regarding their rights and obligations in the event of a break-up. To understand the issues that such an agreement should address, it is necessary to understand the differences between the various types of co-tenancies.


By |January 27th, 2011|Categories: Buyers|0 Comments

FHA Extends 90-Day Anti-Flip Waiver

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will suspend it’s anti-flipping rule for another year to help continue to speed the sales of some foreclosed homes.

In 2003, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a rule that prohibited the FHA from insuring a mortgage on homes that were owned by the seller for less than 90 days.

The rule was designed to avoid “flipping” properties — buying and quickly reselling them at inflated prices to unsuspecting borrowers.

That was several years before the housing market crashed and foreclosures flooded the market.

Last February HUD lifted the ban for one year to accelerate investors’ sales of foreclosure properties. Last week, HUD extended the rule wavier for another year, until January 2012.


By |January 27th, 2011|Categories: Buyers|0 Comments

How Much Home Can I Afford?

Home prices skyrocketed in the early 2000’s, with things really heating up between 2005 and 2007. According to the New York Times, HUD conducted a survey in 2007, finding that home values had risen 16 percent in just those two years. The housing bubble burst in the Spring of 2007 and markets tanked.

Now house values are resetting, with some areas still experiencing declines. In high boom areas, such as Florida, Arizona, and California, homes are having to correct from staggering rises of 20, 30 and even 40 percent in home values. This means values rose, and millions of homeowners bought at the top of the market, now finding themselves upside down in their loans.

Despite the crisis, there are still buyers on the market. But many are wary to make a mistake of buying a home they can’t pay for. How much home can you really afford? Home affordability, in general, is dependant on a range of factors. These include:


By |January 26th, 2011|Categories: Buyers|0 Comments

Homeownership Still Good Long Term Decision, Survey Reveals

The recently released study, American Attitudes about Homeownership, conducted by Harris Interactive for the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reveals that homeownership still ranks high among the list of smart financial decisions.

Ninety-five percent of owners and a whopping 72 percent of renters believe that over a period of several years, it makes more sense to own a home than not. Seventy-seven percent of homeowners believe that homeownership will help them meet long-term financial goals.

But one cannot ignore the touch economic conditions being felt across the nation. Even through it’s positive tone, the survey found that the majority of homeowners and renters believe the country is on the wrong track. Forty percent believe the economy will remain the same in 2011.

And for eight percent of homeowners and nine percent of renters — being able to afford their mortgage or rent is a real and valid concern. Thirty-five percent of homeowners and forty-six percent of renters report that their monthly mortgage is at least a moderate strain.


By |January 25th, 2011|Categories: Buyers|0 Comments

What’s Driving Buyers To Buy Homes?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that “affordability” is the top reason for home buying in 2010.

That makes sense, especially in unstable market conditions. Buyers, as always, are looking for a bargain but, more than ever, they’ve been enticed by low home prices and low interest rates, according to a survey by Weicher Realtors, Inc.

The survey gathered information from 1,261 of the company’s customers who bought homes between July 1 through December 31, 2010.

What about pride in homeownership? it appears that buying a home because they didn’t want to rent, was not the driving force. Instead, it came down to price. This differs from survey results five years ago when respondents (26%) said, “the desire to own their home and stop paying rent” motivated them to buy, according to the Wall Street Journal.


By |January 21st, 2011|Categories: Buyers|0 Comments

Tips for Appraisals

Appraisals allow for homeowners and buyers to establish what is fair market value of a property. In addition, an appraisal allows a lender to know how much they can safely lend.

According to The Appraisal Institute, a global membership association of professional real estate appraisers, “Appraisals are especially important because they are an objective and unbiased source of information. Unlike others involved in real estate transactions, the appraiser is an independent professional who performs a service for a fee rather than for a commission.”

This process, however, can be trying and even frustrating. Recent declines in the housing markets have spawned scapegoats across the industry, including appraisers. And increased caution from lenders has slowed the buying process.

“Too many consumers in this struggling real estate market face problems with appraisals when attempting to buy or sell a home,” said Appraisal Institute President Joseph C. Magdziarz, MAI, SRA. “But rather than passively endure delays in closing a sale, homeowners and buyers can take proactive steps to avoid pitfalls.”


By |January 13th, 2011|Categories: Buyers|0 Comments