Expert Answers Your Real Estate Questions

Michael asks…

What is fractional ownership and how does it work?

This sounds like a good place but I want to know what exactly am I paying for and if Im even allowed to live in it or something.

The Expert answers:

It is like a timeshare. You would not be able to live there. That one says you could use it 21 days per year. Timeshares are a horrible deal. Even if you got a timeshare for free, the membership fees and dues make it better to just rent a hotel or whatever lodging for your vacations.

Ruth asks…

Can you find homes for sale in Pittsburgh on

The Expert answers:

Making the smart move of choosing a REALTOR® is your first step to ensuring that your new home and community meets your needs. Our services and experience range from financial aid to helping you find the home that … How We Can Help Before you start looking.Get the best real estate listings & homes for sale, expert advice, local info, … Welcome! On Our Site You Can Find Lots of Great Information

Carol asks…

What are some websites to search for Vintage Chicago homes for sale?

I’m trying to find old homes for sale in Chicago, whether they be lofts, flats or anything else. I’m looking for old hardwood floor vintage Chicago charm and want to know if there’s any websites out there specifically for this. I’ve looked at typical real estate websites like and such but there’s so many to choose from! Please help!

The Expert answers:

Just hire a Realtor as your buyer’s agent, and state your specifications. He or she will help you determine the price you can afford, and find a lender to pre-qualify you for a mortgage. Then, you can receive daily e-mails or phone calls about listings that suit you, and go look at the best ones.

Mary asks…

Is it normal to put down escrow money and still allow the seller to accept bids on a short sale?

I will be told if seller who is short still accepts other bids on this home still listed on and zillow
Is this normal?
I have an attorney but will only call him after investigation.

It is a very nice home and I gave a strong bid.

I am putting down over 50% does the seller’s bank care how much I put down or my credit score?

The Expert answers:

Yes, it is normal for a seller to actively seek secondary offers, in the event that you fail to close on YOUR offer. Your offer (if it is the first accepted offer) is primary, and the others are secondary. One of those secondary offers may be moved intso primary status if your offer fails to close as expected.

Homes are not removed from until the listing agent changes the status of the property in his local MLS. That is where draws its information. A listing on Zillow won’t change until the person who placed the listing directs that it be changed.

The seller’s bank cares about neither your credit score nor your downpayment, as long as you are able to close the purchase as agreed.

Susan asks…

Where can I find out if a house that I like to buy has a clear tittle?

The house is listed in it is sitting on a lot of 20 acres or more the price looks to sweet and my fear is to travel see it, buy it, and later found out it has a lean or worst…
Is there some puplic records or something to find out about this questions?
The House is located in the great state of TEXAS, thanks for the input.

The Expert answers:

Whenever you buy a house, a title company does a search on a title, and the property cannot be transferred until all “clouds” on a title are resolved, and you have a clear title. There are some exceptions to this (as everything in life) however the title company is required to inform you of this and you can choose not to buy the property if this is the case.

Of coure, title companies are not perfect either, and I would definintely buy title insurance if you are purchasing a house. That way if something comes up later, the title company is responsible up to the amount of your insurance to “fix” the title. If you are getting a mortgage on the house, the lender will require that you purchase title insurance for them, but make sure you pay the extra and have a policy that protects yourself as well, it’s not that much more, and is in effect for the entire period that you own the home, and definitley worthwhile.

An example of a title company making mistakes…..

My sister purchased a home (before I started in Real Estate) that when she went to sell, the title company found a lien that the title company when she purchased did not find. My sister did not have title insurance. It took several days off work, alot of research, and some good luck, but she was able to have the lein released without paying it. She found the person who had the 2nd mortage that was not released, and luckily they had paid the mortgage, kept proof of it, and were willing to share it with her, otherwise she would have had to pay the $20,000 to sell the house.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Paul asks…

How many characters in a mls number?

How many characters in a mls number?

I got a 9 number long mls number for my property from And another site stated that mls numbers are only 6 – 4 numbers long.

The Expert answers:

Each MLS uses its own numbering system. Some are numerical only, and others include a letter or two. There is no set standard for such numbers.

Joseph asks…

Are we going to miss all the great housing deals if we wait till next Spring to move to Florida?

I just read an article saying that the market is beginning to stabilize in Florida and i’m afraid we’re going to miss out on getting a great home for less. We looked just last night on and it seems that there are still plenty of homes (beautiful homes, btw) that are going for $150K and less. How long will they stay at these prices? I don’t want to miss out.

The Expert answers:

Better get em while their there. Im trying to move also but im going to Oakland or Albuquerque

Ken asks…

As someone buying a home, how do you prefer to look for houses for sale?

Do you look on websites like or do you rely on an agent to show you houses based on your requirements or do you drive around looking at for sale signs in neighborhoods you’d like to live in? Or do you attend Open Houses only. I’m just curious.

The Expert answers:

I have done this several times. First of all I select an area of the city that I want to reside in. I check the crime rate by calling the local police. Once that has been completed and I have decided on an area to reside in, I check and see if I can afford this area.

If I can afford the area I then find out if there are or were built the number of bedrooms I require.

Since I might find a FSBO I then drive through this area to see if there are any house I might be interested in just looking from the outside.

I am so looking how racial diversified the area is. I am not interested in an area that has a collection of all one race. How the area is kept, are the lawns mowed and in good condition. How many children are in the nieigborhood.

Now I check and see if there are possible foreclosures in the area. If there are possible foreclosures in the area, I find them, make contact and see if there is a possible deal that can be struck. Like assuming an existing mortgage, with a low down payment or the seller taking back a mortgage note.

I also contact any FSBO to see if I can make any deal with them. I look for the same as a foreclosure to see if I can assume, with a low down payment or a seller carry second.

Before closing the transaction I normally select a Fri or Sat nite to sit in front or near the house to see if there is community noise or other undesirable things happening that would kep me from the purchase of the home.

Now most buyers don’t take the time to do this, but that is exactly why they wind up with places they later want to get rid of. The don’t check for possible deals with the foreclosures and FSBO.

They simply follow a real estate agent around that will not tell them the truth about a neighborhooh because the truth will cause the deal to fall through.

I did this once, the real estate agent told me that I was buying in a nice and good nieghborhood. Well I sat in the neighborhood on a Sat nite and they had a shoot out across the street from where I wanted to buy. When I presented the real estate agent with this new found information, all I got was it was safe before.

After checking the crime report from the city I found that there were 3 shooting in the last 2-3 months. Several drug related arrest within a 1-2 block area of the house.

I learned that most real estate agents don’t even work the area that they sell houses in and therefore are ignorant of the going on in the area in which you are buying..

So you have to take all the precautions necessary,because the real estate agent will tell you I don’t have to disclose the information and will point it out to you in some contract you might have to sign.

I very seldom look at the internet seeking to purchase a home because they might not simplify the area I am looking in to purchase.

I hope this has been of some use to you, good luck.


David asks…

Should I find a new realtor?

We are trying to sell our house, has been on the market since the middle of July. It is listed on the MLS, and realtors personal website with photos that he took. The description isn’t the best, suchs as “House shows well.” It was listed on with no picture and it took several phone calls, emails and US finally contacting for him to finally put the picture of our house on We had to request a newspaper ad (which he hasn’t done yet), open house, literature box to put the color ads in that we made and paid for. He takes his time and is not aggressively selling our home. He tells us it’s not a good time to sell, yet he just now listed a house that he owns 2 streets down. He only emails and sends paperwork in the mail. Not personable at all, all for a 7% commision. We have had nothing but great feedback of the house, it’s the location across from a apartment complex that is negative. We really would like to move out of state by winter
Our contract says nothing about firing, leaving etc. I’m not going to pay someone who is NOT doing their job. We have discussed our frustrations with him, and he keeps saying “well the market is soft…” All I’m asking for is that he try to sell my house. He told us the house will sell itself. He pretty much has done the bare minimum.
Oh yeah, we are in Columbus, Ohio

The Expert answers:

If you do decide to get a new realtor, this directory is really helpful. Just go to,_Inc._Introduces.php
and click on your state. Good luck ;)

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