Expert Answers Your Real Estate Questions

Daniel asks…

When a person buys a condo do they pay their home ownership fees monthly or yearly?

I’ve been thinking about buying a condo and looking on and when a realtor advertises the HOA fees but doesn’t tell whether it’s a monthly or yearly rate which is it?

The Expert answers:

You will need to verify the information.

The fess can be billed monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annually. Hence there is no way to know in advance without asking about the specific HOA details. If the listing is correctly entered into the local RMLS you would expect the interval to be noted. The forms for where I am selling a condo provide room to specify (the data input forms for the RMLS in the area).

In this case you will likely have to contact the owner, the Realtor or the HOA. Do assume that some of the time people get confused so a letter from the HOA is better than just what an agent or seller says. In my case I did not even know as my wife pays the bills so I could have easily said the wrong thing until the records were checked.

Note that you can make an assumption when screening properties. If all the others are monthly or the figure looks to be 12 times the average then maybe it is a yearly number. If you are only screening out properties not worth looking at then you can quickly build a list and then verify the HOA as one of the first question you ask.

Mark asks…

which free and reliable website can i have the option to find foreclosure homes?

i’ve been to but they don’t tell you directly if it’s bank owned. and you won’t know unless you call. any help would be great. thanks

The Expert answers:

You can check out – they have a 3 day free trial and a comprehensive list of foreclosed homes within the USA. You can even narrow down the search to within your zip code. It’s a good resource that I have used several times in the past. They also have cars, housewares, and electronics – for your new home of course!

Donna asks…

Is there any way to find an MLS number for a house that has already sold?

Need it to contact for a picture they had posted and need the MLS number – does anyone know if there is a way to find the number once the house has sold? Thanks! :)
Thanks! :)

The Expert answers:

Contact an agent and I’m sure they would Email you any pictures they have. Agents can find the number on their part of the site. We use “solds” all the time for comps.

Laura asks…

What Are The Best Real Estate Sites For Homes In Canada?

Looking for the best sites for real estate in Canada. For US, it’s,,, etc

What are the best ones for Canada? I’m looking for sites that allow you to search by acreage. Thanks!
lol, yes… I can search for the answer on the internet. Thanks for the good advice.. haha

The Expert answers:

You should narrow your search to province and area and go from there. Otherwise, go to the big real estate sites –,, etc to narrow your search. You could also try Real Estate Canada network, although I don’t know if it’s very good

Chris asks…

Where is the Swimming Pool in This Home?

It has a small backyard and it isn’t shown in the top view on google maps either.

The Expert answers:

It’s a townhome…. Among several others… And most lilkely, a community pool…..

Linda asks…

When making an offer on a house, do realtors require a good faith estimate?

I have owned and sold a few homes. I am selling one now with a realtor who called me with an offer of at least $ 40,000 less that I will submit to. The offer had no bona-fide pre-approval from a bank nor a deposit down on the offer. I challenged my realtor on this, and needless to say there were bad feelings as the buyer hadn’t even been to the bank to see if they could afford the house.
The only time the realtor moves is after I call them. Then, I get some low offers, which I believe is so that it appears as if they are doing their jobs. Initially, the realtor put on four of the same photo of my house on I couldn’t believe it.
Thanks, Frank

The Expert answers:

A good Faith Estimate is from a mortgage company/ bank/ lender and has nothing to do with a purchase contract. You might want to require that any offers on your home include a pre approval from one of the above.

It sounds like your realtor is more of a listing agent than a selling agent though. In the boom market, many realtors got very good at listings and didn’t really focus on sales. That worked for them as the listing agent still gets half the commission when the property sells. You might consider pulling the listing from your agent and listing it with someone else that can document their ability in sales and not just listings.

Carol asks…

is there a max perecentage rate when buying a house?

im using monthly price per month calculator at and my credit isnt that great so i just wanted to know if anyone knows what the max perecentage they can ask for when buying a house? i think i explained that right. thanks for the help yahoo’ers


The Expert answers:

FHA fixed 30 yr rate (FHA only requires a FICO score of 580) if you have any slow pymts in the last two yrs you will be required for a letter of explanation. (no big deal)

Your percentage rate depends on who your lender is, what I suggest:

Go thru lending just to ascertain if you are FHA qualified. If so, then go the some local brokers (3 of them) and allow them to fight it out against each other for your business (you’ll approve in the FHA Auto Approval Process with all of them if Lending Tree approved you)

Perfect example: I just played three companies myself a month ago against each other…the first offer was 6.25 fixed 30 yr – then next lender offered 6.0 seeing what the other guy offered me, the next company seeing both offers then suggested they would do 5.75…..(See, everything is negotiable today, everything) never say never!) Every broker or lender lied to me at some point and called the other guy a fool! Guess what, one guy who couldn’t match what the others offered, got kinda nasty.

George asks…

Is it feasible to buy a 3-4 bedroom home in Pittsburgh, PA for under $150K?

I’m looking at moving to the Pittsburgh, PA area, and am wondering how likely it is to find a decent looking 3-4 bedroom house in Pittsburgh, preferably close to the airport. I have looked at and other websites, and would like a Pittsburgh-native or someone who has lived in Pittsburgh for a while to give me an idea of whether or not I can actually buy a house for under 150K.

The Expert answers:

I don’t know what half these people are talking about. You can easily get a nice 3 bedroom house for around 150K in Pittsburgh. You say close to the airport, check out Crafton, Carnegie, Greentree, Moon and Bridgeville all are easily within 15 minutes of the airport and keep you close to the city, but outside of city taxes.

Go to and search the following zip codes:

15205 (parts are within city limits)

Sandy asks…

Is the walmart in las vegas more expensive than anywhere else?

I wanna live there when im 18 and get a house like this,

but idk if i culd make it and how much is mc.ds and stuff like that

The Expert answers:

Ilive here and it is the best store for saving money. I used to live on the east coast and most things are more affordable here that in NJ>

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