Selling Your Home And Making A Profit

June 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Ready for Real Estate ?

TIP! The day-to-day tasks of keeping your home looking neat and tidy might seem like too much trouble for too little return. However, if such duties are ignored, the result is a house that will need a bit of an overhaul prior to being listed.

When you are trying to sell real estate, you’ll discover a number of challenges and difficulties that must be faced and conquered. Do not hesitate to sell, but remember that knowledge is your best ally. This article provides some helpful tips to those selling in today’s tough real estate climate. Read on to arm yourself and maximize your profits.

TIP! Declutter your home to allow it to show itself. Buyers want to imagine themselves in the home, and the fewer there are of your displayed belongings, the easier it will be for them to do so.

The small efforts in maintaining the landscaping, painting, and other small repairs can be a bother for many homeowners. However, as you let these tasks fall by the wayside, they begin to pile up on you. Before you know it, you’re left with a home that nobody wants to buy.

TIP! Small changes in the kitchen can pay off handsomely in your home’s value and appeal. For instance, you could replace an old ugly appliance with a new, modern focal piece.

Don’t set your price too high or too low, but ask for a price that buyers are likely to accept and which doesn’t feel uncomfortably low to you. Look at compatible local sales and the values of homes in your area, then set a price which is at the higher end of the average. You might have to reduce your asking price if you ask for something that is too high.

TIP! All of the information that a buyer could think is useful when buying a home should be handy. Create a list of all the contractors who have worked on the house and all the work they’ve completed.

You should make certain that any information that a potential buyer might be interested in is readily available. Keep records of the companies and professionals who have worked on the house, complete with details of the jobs performed. This will give the buyer a good idea about the kind of care that was put into the home during your ownership.

TIP! Bidding wars sometimes can be to your advantage. Setting list prices that are competitive on the area in which your house is located, could bring you a lot of interested buyers.

In certain areas homes sales are higher during more favorable seasons. Make your house more attractive by adding seasonal decorations. Also, keep natural clutter like fallen leaves and snow cleaned so that you can attract the highest offer possible.

Selling Price

TIP! If you’re aiming to sell a home very quickly, then you should price the home at about 10% less than the lowest comparable home in the area. Home shoppers will be attracted to the price, and will flock to take a tour.

A good bidding war might really be your ticket to a great selling price. If you choose a selling price that is comparable to other properties in the area, you are more likely to attract serious inquiries. The best case scenario is that two or more potential buyers bid on the price of the house, rising it up and bringing you a nice windfall.

TIP! Clear out clutter to make your home more appealing to potential buyers. The closets should not only contain a limited number of items, but they should be clean and organized.

A home that appears inviting can seem more welcoming to any buyer. Doing this will make your home much more appealing to the people who choose to come check it out.

TIP! Wipe down appliances and counter tops. Clean the bathroom, and sweep and mop the floors.

If it’s possible, you should ensure you sell your home before having to move. Few things are as difficult as trying to make two house payments as you wait for your previous home to sell. Allow a substantial amount of time to sell your house before you face the pressure of needing to move.

TIP! When showing a home, open up your curtains. Brightness is a good thing in this situation.

Keep appliances and counters clean and wiped down. Sweep and mop the floors, and clean the bathroom. Get your children to put all toys away neatly. Do not leave clothing or dirty laundry any place where it can be seen. Potential buyers will be able to concentrate on the positive aspects of the house if they are not distracted by how messy it is.

TIP! Prior to any real estate market endeavor beginning, anyone partaking in this journey would be wise to set some goals before buying or selling anything. A buyer can truly resist anyone swaying them when they commit themselves to ideal amenities, locations and prices.

Have all improvements and clean-ups done in your home by the end of winter or midway through the spring at the latest. Buyers generally want to be in a new home by early or mid summer.

TIP! Ideally, your home should be listed for sale during the winter and spring months. Most buyers aim to be moved in and ready to start the new school year by July at the latest.

You may be selling your home or selling a piece of commercial property. Either way, you must try to always stay one step ahead of the rapidly changing real estate market. On the other hand, the application of the advice in this article won’t just help you find solid ground, they’ll help boost your returns.

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How To Sell A Home Without Stress

March 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Ready for Real Estate ?

TIP! A bidding fight could help you out. If your price is slightly lower than that of similar homes in your neighborhood, you might hear from a lot of interested people.

When you are selling a piece of real estate, being knowledgeable can make a big difference. You’ll find that there is much to read and learn online and in books. However, it does time time to sort the good from the bad. These tips will help you sell real estate successfully.

TIP! If a potential buyer offers an amount different than the listing price, don’t immediately reject the offer out of hand. You might not get the price you expected for your home.

Have ready any information that buyers might find helpful when buying a home. You should compile a list of any renovations or remodeling that was done on the home, along with the contractors used to complete the work. Buyers are risking a lot of money on even a modest home, so they definitely want their questions answered. If you can answer them and put them at ease, you have a better chance of selling your property.

TIP! One way to make the home seem more inviting to a potential buyer is to stay away when it is being shown. Potential buyers could see something in your home that even you don’t see, so don’t try too hard to influence their opinion.

Use both negative and positive feedback from your open house when trying to sell your home. Buyers who come to see your house, they could either write it down on paper for you or try directly asking them. The negative comments will help you know what you should change.


If you are going to put your home up for sale, make sure you clean really well outside your home and around your property. There are a multitude of issues which could be off-putting to a potential buyer, so view the garden from their eyes. If you see broken fences, overgrown plants, or smelly drains, for example, attend to them quickly.

TIP! Present a welcoming atmosphere from the outside so potential buyers can immediately feel the warmth of the property. This plays a major role in the likelihood that prospective buyers will give the property further consideration.

The last thing you should do when selling a home is to move out into a new residence before your old one is sold. It’s just too complicated and too expensive to pay multiple bills and to worry about your new home and a home that’s currently on the market. Allow yourself plenty of time to have your house on the market and make the sale.

TIP! If your home looks outdated, you may want to do some minor renovations prior to listing your property. This will raise the total value.

If you want to sell business-related real estate, you should get a commercial agent who specializes in that type of property. An agent who knows how to make a professional deal with plenty of experience should leave you happy when everything is all done. Agents with commercial experience will be more able to contact prospective buyers who are most suitable for the property.

TIP! If you are a real estate agent, you can use social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, to your advantage. You can post or tweet information on new properties in the area, upcoming promotions, or even home improvement and real estate buying tips.

In many areas of the country, the seasons drive the housing market. If this is true in your region, seasonally-themed decorations can make your house attractive to prospective buyers. In the autumn season, keep the leaves raked and the yard clean.

TIP! Polish your chrome and silver fixtures to make them appear new and lustrous. Prospective buyers like to test everything out, including operating the plumbing fixtures.

If you are putting your house on the market, improve your bathrooms with a bit of freshening up. Replace dated lighting and squeaky fixtures. Give the bathroom an inviting, relaxing feel. Make it look like a spa as much as possible. You want the buyer to picture themself relaxing in a nice, soothing bath.

TIP! Do not spend too much on new flooring. Installing new flooring is a major expense, and the long-term benefits will accrue to whoever is living there, not to you.

Make your house more appealing by cleaning out clutter. Don’t just stuff your belongings away in the closet! The potential buyer will want to see clean, roomy closets with a minimum of your belongings stored there! Also clean kitchen cabinets, but think about making them appear more sophisticated by adding in some gourmet items.

TIP! Keeping your yard clean and well-kept is a better investment than having it newly landscaped. The flowers and landscaping features you pick will be your own taste and not necessarily something the new owners will like.

If you are going to resell your home, then avoid attachments that might prevent you from seeing it realistically. Doing this will help to attract buyers and get it off of the market faster.

TIP! Get your home ready to sell by applying a fresh paint coat. Most people can do this themselves; in addition, you shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money to paint the walls.

With any luck, you have found some advice here that is beneficial to you. Use the tips that apply to your specific market and piece of real estate. You will be rewarded in a big way if you take the time to become informed about the intricacies of selling your home or land.

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Deciding On Your First Home

May 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Real Estate Information

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Ready To Leave That Apartment?

Now would be the absolute best time to find your first home. Starting your search as a first time homebuyer is a vital part of growing a financial base and credit rating as well as moving you into a comfortable space you will love. If the time is right for you to find your first home, there are a number of things to consider before you pull the pin on that first contract.

Prior to viewing any new home, make sure you begin looking at the process carefully and with a sharp eye. Learn what the mortgage rates are and how the general home financing scene is fairing at that time. Know what other buyers are paying for mortgages monthly and decide what an affordable monthly number is for you and yours. You need to understand the real estate market for the kinds of property that interest you and determine if you can afford these or look at something less expensive.

When you learn the basics of your market and what is for sale in the district you desire, your search will be adjusted in your favor considerably. Make certain of what your credit rating will look like to a lender and you better ask yourself are your paychecks going to be secure for a time. Biting off more than you can chew for your first home can be a disaster and lead to unexpected hardship at closing or some point thereafter and put you back financially for years.

At this stage of the first home buying process the situation widely depends on the professionals you line up as allies to your cause. The biggest decision is finding the best realtor for you. Having a good agent can make all the difference in the way your transaction turns out, the style of home you buy and the home financing you receive. A good realtor will find you the absolute best home in short order after determining your resources and living needs. Ask your agent if they have links to home inspectors and mortgage lending institutions. The professionals you recruit to help you find your first home can decide if problems will develop and mean the difference between a poor deal and a great deal.

Prior to or during the process of looking at homes, be sure you understand what is being discussed around you – learn the terminology in finance and real estate. Real estate market terms and mortgage language can be tricky so ask as many questions as you need to – there is no such thing as a stupid question. This is a big step in your life so understand each step of the experience.

Buying your first home can be a real trip, it should be an adventure and a bit challenging, but not a hardship. Be confident in your actions and understand all of the procedures as you encounter them. Knowledge is power so empower yourself before you even begin your first home hunt and get precisely what you are looking for.

Expert Answers Your Real Estate Questions

James asks…

Can you find homes for sale in Pittsburgh on

I am just curious… I have been trying for several days to find listings of homes for sale in Pittsburgh, PA, but the site says there are only 30 or so homes for sale. I know there are thousands. When I search other cities, the site is fine. I am not changing any search options. If you try to search for Pittsburgh, are you coming up with a small #, or the full list? Thanks.

The Expert answers:


Get filtered homes for sale in Pittsburgh or any province of US or any region of the world right here

Realageads focus is to give exact information to the world Real Estate market. We research and get you news, articles, rebates, offers from creative service providers to the Real Estate Industry. You can find us for latest trends in anything around real estates and property

All the best

Betty asks…

I just listed my house on the MLS service, How long does take to pick up the MLS? ?

I just listed my house on the MLS service, How long does take to pick up the MLS?

The Expert answers:

I was just looking thru to see who the agent was on a house i am looking to buy and it wasnt even on there. Although i looked through another MLS site and the homes been listed on that site for 5+ months!!

Laura asks…

What is a website that I can look for houses for rent in Beckley WV I tried and ?

I need some other websites so I can look for rental properties I have already tried and is their any other websites that I can go to and look

The Expert answers:

Here’s a couple links that may help you.


Depending on the size of Beckley, you may need to look in other towns/cities that are close by in order to find something at first. Hope this helps you. Good luck!

David asks…

Is there a better website to access houses for sale in southern california than

I noticed has lots of outdated and missing houses for sales. Is there a free website I can access that’s close to MLS? I need a link please.

The Expert answers:

Do not go to a discount brokerage of any kind to get information. Look at it this way, the sellers are represented by a professional negotiator who specializes in real estate. You want a professional negotiator who specializes in real estate working for you. The best way to find a home is to contact a Buyer Specialist at a reputable real estate brokerage.

I do not know what area of So. Cal you are talking about, but as a Realtor myself for 16 years, (yes I am a professional negotiator) I would contact a specialist in the area I was moving to.

By the way… is pathetic. There is one heck of a lot of outdated listings. It is not as automated as they tell us Realtors it is. Bag it. It is a waste of time.

Maria asks…

I have an excel doc with thds of addresses is it pos to set up excel to go to and bring back data ?

The only data I want to search is zip code and property square feet and bring back the first five prices and put the into excel. is this possible.One problem I see is in the square footage is a drop down menu.

The Expert answers:

It may be but more amd more sites are making it difficult to extract data from their web sites to prevent copyright infringement. You need to consider first whether your intended activity would violate such rights of for two reasons.

The first and it should be the most important is the question – is what you are doing legal and ethical.

The second is the question of consequences. There is a small chance that you could be discovered and taken to court. There is the chance that the time you spend trying to download the data will just be wasted. There is a chance that after you have spent hours developing a working solution, the web site will be changed in a way that completely stops it from working.

Be aware that the last chance exists even where what you want to do is completely ethical and legal.

If you decide that what you want to do is ethical, legal and worth the risk then you can

Start macro recording to capture what you are doing.

Select Data > Import External Data > New Web Query

Navigate in the browser that pops up to the information you want to capture and see if you can select it for import. If you can, then complete the import and look at what shows up in your Excel worksheet. If that is usable, then continue developing and testing. If it is not usable, you can retry until you decide that it is very unlikely that you will be able to get what you want.

Another option you should consider would be to contact about how they could make the data you need avaialbe at a reasonable cost.

Good Luck

Sandra asks…

what is the best website (except for to look for homes for sale?

The Expert answers:

Theres yahoo real estate. Its about the same as

Lizzie asks…

Does anyone know any websites other than that has rental properties on it?

I am looking for rental houses in maryland and I found a website called and I am trying to find others if anyone knows any please tell me and thank you them

The Expert answers:

Try craigslist,,…. There are also search engines on MSN and Yahoo for rentals across the country.

Daniel asks…

where is the for biddeford, maine?

my daughter is buying one of the houses on this realtor’s city

The Expert answers:

You question isn’t really clear, but does this help?


Carol asks…

Where can I find out the MLS# for a home for sale(other than if I provide the street address?

The Expert answers:

Call an agent in your area… They can probably look it up for you.

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Expert Answers Your Real Estate Questions

Steven asks…

how long does it usually take in the home buying process in sacramento, ca?

The Expert answers:

1 month to 1 year. It really depends on if you have a home picked out or not. There is no average!

Daniel asks…

When to start Home buying process?

My husband and I are planning on buying a house over the summer. The lease on our rental runs out at the beginning of Sept so we need to have our closing sometime in August. I know it can take a few months for the whole house buying process to go through, but we are unsure of when to exactly start. We are thinking of starting the process next month, but as concerned that we’ll find the house we want and start the contract on it and end up with a mortgage and rent payment for a month or 2. We’re also worried about starting to late and not meeting out lease deadline. Is it possible to request an August closing date, even if we go in contract on a house in may or june?

Any input will be helpful.. We are first time home buyers and are pretty much clueless as to how the whole process works!

The Expert answers:

Get qualified for your mortgage first. Most qualifications can be started before house hunting to ensure you are totally prepared to buy a house. Once you find a house, closing may take up to 30 days. So, you could potentially get qualified and start house hunting 2-3 months before you need to close and move.

Hope this helps!

George asks…

Placing fraud alert on my social/credit while in the process of buying a home..?

I lost my SS card, no idea how, I’m normally very careful with that kind of info. Odds are it’s my apt somewhere but I’ve spent the last 2 days looking for it. I don’t even know how long it’s been gone, last time I needed it was about a year ago.
I don’t want to place a credit freeze at the moment, it will only complicate our home buying process…. But a fraud alert, would that have any affect on our home buying? And my understanding is fraud alert has to be re-newed every 90 days, is that correct?
Any additional advice/info you have on fraud alerts is appreciated…. thank you

The Expert answers:

Yes, fraud alerts expire in 90 days and it shouldn’t be a problem with mortgage lenders accessing your credit reports.

I’m not even sure I would bother doing the alert since you think it was probably misplaced. I’d be more concerned if your wallet had been stolen.

Linda asks…

Is there a form or template for evaluating houses during the home-buying process?

I am starting the process of buying a home for the first time. I want to look at a lot of different houses since I don’ t know exactly what I want.

I would like to have a simple form or template that I can print off that will help me record my first impressions of each house.

I don’t need to write down square feet, # of bedroms, etc., because I’ll have that information already. I’d rather have something that will allow me to give a score for different categories like style, comfort, fixer-upper opportunity, backyard maintainance, etc. I can probably just make one, but I would rather use an existing form. I couldn’t find much online, because I didn’t know how to word my search.

The Expert answers:

Wow this is going to be a brutal process. Are you an engineer?

Our prayers go out to anyone who might have to go thru this process with you.

You will know within 10 seconds of entering home if you hate it. No need to fill out a spreadsheet documenting why you hate it.

Sharon asks…

home buying process need help.?

need help on home buying processes. do i first get pre approved for a home? then search for a home or do i first find a home i like then get pre aproved for a home loan? does the approval expire after a certain amount of time? i dont want them to keep checking our credit if we cant find a home right away. i live in teas and want an older home. do i go through a realtor or what route do i take? how much should someone save up for all those fees closing cost, inspections, etc…. Are there first time buyers programs? i hear that some people get goverment help when they first buy a house. whats that about???? Need help!!

The Expert answers:

Ok, I’ve bought and sold 4 homes, so I’m pretty well versed on the subject. 1st get pre-approved for a loan. This costs you nothing to do and people whose homes you are viewing will feel more at ease if you’ve been pre-approved. Usually that process can be handled by your realtor. If you decide to use a realtor, be VERY specific about what your needs are. Realtors are kind of a pain, in that they just want to make $. So if you say, I want a deck on my house and the house you’re looking at doesn’t have a deck, move on to another realtor. If you don’t use a realtor for the pre-approval, then you can get it yourself through any bank or even Lending Tree. The fees up in NJ where I am are about 3-4 grand. When you apply for a loan, once you find something you like, you can build those costs into your loan, making it easier for you. Over the lifetime of a loan 3-4 grand doesn’t make much difference in your payments. There are many 1st time home buyer programs, and with the market being a buyer’s market now, TAKE ADVANTAGE. Make sure whomever you use, they are competitive. Shop out the loan too, finding out which company is giving you the best deal, because banks have different APR rates. And make sure you get ALL their fees on paper before you compare. This way they can’t slip anything in at the closing. And finally once you find a home you like, whether it’s through a realtor or you just shop online using resources like, Foxtons, or even Craig’s List, I highly suggest you get a Real Estate Attorney. They will make sure in the end you don’t get hosed. Good luck and happy hunting!!

Donna asks…

In the process of buying a home my husband lost his job (no fault of his own) Can we get our earnest $ back?

We were in the process of buying a new construction home. We were approved for a loan thru the builder’s lender. My husband just lost his job due to no fault of his own. Now we do not qualify for the loan. Can we get our earnest money back from the builder?

The Expert answers:

The money you put as a deposit to ‘separate’ the site/lot? Probably not. That depends on the contract you signed when you put that money down. Usually, that contract states that the deposit, in the event that the purchase doesn’t go thru, gets divided between the broker/realtor/ and seller.

Check your contract well. (you’d better have a copy of it).

Usually, though, you wouldn’t get it back. (sorry for your hubby. Hang in there)

Chris asks…

In process of buying home – it has septic tank that was filled? Is this something to be concerned about?

What questions should I ask the seller of the home regarding this? Could there potential be costly problems in the future?

The Expert answers:

Filled with what? Do you mean that it was decommissioned and filled with sand? That is common when connecting to the city sewer system. If that is the case, you are fine, but we really need to know what you are saying.

Additional: Why was my answer essentially repeated by another person?

Laura asks…

What is the process of buying a foreclosed home?

What is the process of buying a foreclosed home that is being auctioned off??

The Expert answers:

You typically have to put a bid on a foreclosed home in order to buy it. There will probably be other people bidding on the foreclosed home, but you will not be able to find out how much they are bidding. You can bid below the asking price, but keep in mind that you risk losing the home if you do. It’s a good idea to get the house inspected and appraised before you make your bid. It’s also a very good idea to get a realtor who is experienced with foreclosures.

Helen asks…

Home buying process?

My hubby and i plan on buying our first house rather soon. What is process like? Any tips, suggestions on how we should go about it?
We no dont have great credit, but its not awful either.

The Expert answers:

Talk with a broker, a broker underwrites for many company’s (I underwrite for 150 companies) so I only have to pull credit 1 time, and they look at my credit. A single lender (not a broker) has programs available, but they may not be able to help you and your situation, so you go elsewhere, and than that person pulls your credit (see what I mean.) FHA/VA approved too. If you shop, your credit is pulled and that is considered a soft pull, for a 30 day period. Just like shopping for a auto, it is good for 30 days. If you apply for a credit card, that is considered a “hard” pull and it drags down your credit score. When looking for a home &/or refinancing, please do not apply for a credit card, Department Charge Card, Gasoline Card or make any major purchases, like a auto, etc. This will pull your credit down.

By the way, a loan application is called a 1003, and they will issue you a GFE (Good Faith estimate, with-in 3 days, that is per the RESPA laws, and the TIL (Truth in Lending). The GFE will tell you the up-front closing cost associated with your loan. The TIL will tell you the terms, rate associated with your loan. This is a estimate only – not the final – but it does help you figure things out
Cost associated with your loan. You will need to pay for the appraisal up front (when it being done). You will need to pay for The Home Owners Insurance Coverage for 1 YEAR . The seller can help you with up to 6 percent of closing cost. So the title fee, lender fees, underwriting fees, broker fee, processing fee, flood cert, etc can be paid for by the seller.


When you Decide to buy, decide on how much you want to spend, if you want to escrow the taxes and insurance. Say the taxes are 1200 a YR and insurance 800 a year (just an estimate, ok) That is 2,000 a year divided by 12 = 166.66 If you paid 1,000 a month now – (166.66) your P/I Principle and Interest would be 833.34. Now you decided on the price range you are looking into. If you have great credit, a 1 loan at 130,000 at a rate of 7 percent over a 30 year time would be 864.89 – This is just a estimate – ok – Just depends on your credit. You could get a lower interest rate or it could be higher – it is all based on credit. It is up the Lender what they offer you.

It greatly depends if you need help with closing cost, (The seller could do Seller Help toward your closing cost). If that is the case, I normally tell my clients NOT to hackle over the price, since you are asking for closing cost help – especially if the home is thru a realtor, and the seller has to pay the realtor their fee which runs from 3-6 percent of the selling price, and you ask for 3-5 percent toward closing cost -assistance) Follow me so far?? You may find a For Sale By Owner, they are sometimes more willing to help you with closing cost(s) associated with your loan, since there is no realtor fees.

A 100 percent loan – is not totally out of your reach – There are FHA programs, payment assistant programs to help you. Lenders look at your middle credit score (should be 580 +, to get 100 percent financing).If you do not know your credit scores – have your lender tell you, or pull your credit from the 3 credit reporting agencies – BUT the person you are working with should tell YOU.

Make a list of features that are important in your home
Write down desirable locations you would consider, an acceptable price range, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and any other amenities. Be specific. It is unlikely that you will find a home that offers every feature you desire; however, without a wish list, it will be more difficult to recognize a home that meets your expectations. Provide the information to your Realtor if you are working with one.

You must be certain which repairs and closing costs are your responsibility. You must know whether the property can legally be sold “as is” and how deed restrictions and local zoning will affect the transaction. If there are defects in the title, or if the property is in conflict with local restrictions, you or your Realtor must remedy them. Otherwise, you could lose thousands!

It is your Realtor’s job to know the laws governing real estate transactions. They are involved in an on-going training program to keep up-to-date with these laws. You deserve to have an agent who is not only knowledgeable about the transaction, but is also willing to educate you throughout the process so you will feel more comfortable.

Failing to make your own inspection

You probably would not want to rely on the seller to point out defects in a house he is attempting to sell. There may even be hidden problems of which he is unaware.

Be sure your sales contract is worded so that any “earnest money deposit” must be returned in the event the house fails inspection. If a major defect is found, you have the option to cancel the contract and have your deposit returned, bargain for a lower price to compensate for the cost of repairing the problem, or have the owner make needed repairs before the sale.

Even before you get to the point of a contract and having a professional inspector look at the house, there are many items you can check yourself as you are shopping for a home.

Structure – Basement, check the foundation for cracks or water marks. Floors, are they level? Does the roof sag?

Water damage – Look for unevenly painted ceiling or wall; mildew odor in basement; signs of re-plastering or re-tiling in just one area of the room.

Water pressure – Flush toilet and turn on both hot and cold water faucets at the same time to test.

Plumbing – Ask what type pipes are installed and their age. If applicable, ask when the septic system was last inspected and cleaned. Stand near the tank to detect odor or soggy ground.

Wiring – A 100-amp system is typical in modern construction and uses a one-inch main line; this can be seen leading to the fuse box. Appliances such as dryer or range require a 220-amp line. Notice if lights flicker or don’t work. Check for electrical outlets . . . Usually at least 2 in each room.

Energy efficiency – Ask to check last year’s heating and cooling bills. Determine if proper insulation has been used.

Pests – Be alert for small accumulation of sawdust in the basement. This might indicate an insect problem. Obtain date and results of the last wood-destroying pest inspection.

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Your Questions About Real Estate

Joseph asks…

If I have a non occupant co-signer for an FHA loan, will I be approved for a higher amount?

I am trying to buy my first home with my boyfriend of 6 years. His credit rating isn’t very good, so I want to purchase the home myself. Using a loan calculator, I figured out that on my own I won’t be approved for a reasonable amount. If I have a co-signer, will the amount of the loan increase? How much will it increase?

The Expert answers:

If your mortgage allows for a co-borrower, how much the loan amount will increase will depend on the strength of your co-borrowers credit score and resources.

George asks…

Can I buy a home if i only earn $23k a year?

I am a 25 year old single mother and have always planned on “someday” buying a home. I make around 23k a year and going by those mortage calculators online, the amount of loan I would qualify for wouldnt even buy me a decent mobile home!! Recently, my grandpa shocked me by telling me he would help me get my not-so-great credit fixed up and see if he could also help me get a house. I’m not sure how much he will help, but says he has some money saved to help me. Also, a friend of mine who made less than I do bought a house for $112k (brand new HUD home) through various government loans. Should I just forget about buying a home or what? I do have a stable job with steady income and have had no problems paying my rent. Any advice?
I mean, can I buy a DECENT place? Is there a chance I can qualify for more than I think?

The Expert answers:

That depends on the price of your home, and how much you can save a month pt pay the mortgage

talk to your grandpa to see how much he can help u towards the purchase

Nancy asks…

When calculating tax savings from mortgage interest, should you use your marginal tax rate or average tax rate

The TurboTax and HR Block quick calulators appear to use average tax rate to determine tax savings. Our average tax rate was 15% this year. Most other calculators specifically designed for calculating mortgage interest tax savings use marginal tax rate, which for us is 25%. Which are we supposed to use for an accurate estimation of our tax savings? We’re thinking of buying a home and this weighs heavily in our decision process.

The Expert answers:

Compute your tax with out a home then add the home and see how much it changes.
If you get the standard deduction for a couple it is over 10,000 so that part is no savings. When you have a house you have property taxes and interest to deduct plus then your state income or sales tax and charity is deductable.
If you aren’t doing charity and pay $3,000 for property tax only any interest over about 6K will reduce your tax and it will reduce it at your marginal rate so you will save 25% of 6K or about 1,500 maybe 2,000 if you have high state taxes.

Thomas asks…

What is the best way to measure my body fat?

I’m looking for something I can do at home and buy with out needing to be an expert. BMI calculators are absolutely wrong I would like to shoot the person who invented this system. Are Electronic Bodyfat Analyzer pretty reliable? Also how can I find a place that does the flotation thing in the tank to analyze body fat near where I live. I live in Connecticut if that helps. Sorry for the mouthful thanks.

The Expert answers:

The best thing is to…

…get over it.

If you are fat, get fit. If you aren’t, get on with your life.

You don’t need a precise measurement of body fat to be healthy. The only purpose for it is vanity.

Daniel asks…

Can you buy a home with 10% down?

I noticed that all the real estate mortgage calculators default to 20%, is this because you can’t typically only put down 10%? My fiance has perfect credit (we’ll be buying after we’re married). My credit isn’t so perfect, but it can go in his name I assume. Also, by the time we buy, our combined income should be around 75k/year.


The Expert answers:

No matter what you’ve heard, you can still buy a home with no money down, and you can do it regardless of your credit or your income situation. For details, go to

Maria asks…

I lost my calculator?

I borrowed my sister’s TI 84 plus graphing calculator to do my PSAT’s. I GUARANTEE I did not leave it at school. When I got home, I put my calculator on my car’s windscreen because I had to help my dad put my ladder in my backyard. I semi-remember bringing it back up to my house. But I searched everywhere for my calculator and cannot find it. My family is mad at me and the calculator was expensive when we bought it, which was a few years ago.I’m not sure if I left the calculator on my windscreen or not. But I DO remember me placing my pencils I used during the test on my desk, not really sure about the calculator. My car was parked onto my driveway. I’m probably suspecting the mailman took it since I got home before I got the mail, or a passing by pedestrian took it. After i walked into my home I placed my pencils and maybe my calculator on my desk. Went into my small bedroom and changed. thats about it.

The point is, i want you to be in my shoes and suggest where the calculator might be. I search everywhere inside my car and no luck.

Thank you

The Expert answers:

I lost mine too!!! And it’s the property of my school’s D: I am positive that someone stole it… Because I had it in my backpack and went on a fieldtrip. I came home for homework and it was GONE.. Maybe someone stole yours? D:

Betty asks…

How is new, client-based income used in home finance pre approval?

My brother and his wife both just got new jobs. His is salaried. But hers is with a medical private practice where she will be paid based on the number of clients she sees. At first, as she builds up her client-base, her income will be lower. But, likely within six months to a year, she will have full-time clients. At only a 50% client load, she will already be earning over $100,000/yr. And she intends to work full-time as soon as she can build up the clients, at which time she’ll be earning over $200,000. So, she’s in a great field, in a great location, with huge income potential.

They are interested in buying a home within the next few months, and based on some online calculators (which I realize are not going to be 100% accurate), the pre-approval they’ll get from my brother’s income alone is slightly less than they’ll need to buy the home they are aiming for. But with only an additional $25,000/yr, they will earn enough to qualify for the loan. So, doing the math, to earn $25,000/yr, his wife would only need about one-tenth of a full-time client load… around a 4 hour work week! So, definitely an easy, attainable goal.

They both have excellent credit… above 800. But, my brother called a Chase bank and inquired how they pre approve home buyers for financing, and they said that at their bank, they would only consider his salary. They would not consider hers unless she showed pay stubs from at least two months at the new job, and then they would only consider the sum of what she made in those two months as her entire yearly salary. So, even if they wait a couple months, those first couple paychecks are going to be much lower than she will be earning after that and will be a incredibly poor representation of what she will be earning.

Is this common procedure with all banks now? The bank claimed it was. My brother knows they could rent for a year and wait for his wife to have a much higher income before applying, but they were hoping to capitalize on the current home market and low interest rates. I know banks have to be tighter these days with their lending practices, but that seems like overkill. Any insights?

The Expert answers:

Mortgage lenders generally want to see 2 years of stable income minimum before they will consider a loan. If it’s not with the same employer it should be in the same field. With 2 earners they will generally want to see 2 years from one and at least 6 months from the joint borrower before they will consider the joint borrower’s income.

Any on-line calculator is just going to be a guess. Try applying at local credit unions and community banks first. They have more of a vested interest in the local area and are more likely to be flexible for local borrowers.

Linda asks…

First time home buyer?

I am looking into buying my first home in about 7 months. I was wondering how much I can afford. There are mortgage calculators that help you do so, but they do not take into affect the extra costs of buying a house. Is there an easy way to get a realistic estimate of monthly payments related to the cost of the home itself?

To make it more clear, I need to know what price range to look into.
Should I speak to a mortgage lender at a bank or elsewhere?

The Expert answers:

If you get pre-qualified then they will figure out what price range you can afford and that will be the amount of the pre-qualification letter. They let you use up to 47% of income for the house and alot depends on debt to income ratio and credit. I would speak with a mortgage company, call any realtor in your phone book and they will give you the name of a lender you can call.

Sharon asks…

First time home buyer… Best Loan?

My fiancee and I are deciding to buy a home basically because we pay 975 a month for a 1 bedroom apartment in Virginia. We are sick of spending that much money on something we will never own and feel like we are thrwoing it away and could be investing in something like a home. The only thing is that realty is really expensive in VA and we are not in the position to move out of the state. I go to school here for nursing and he just relocated here for his job (not military). I work only part time and make just a little over 700 a week after taxes and he makes a little over 2300 a week after taxes. We are looking at homes in the nicer parts of Norfolk, which is VERY limited!!!! We we interested in buying a home last year and got pre-qualified and was told we we pre qualified for somewhere in the 180,000 range. But then I was working full time makeing about 1200 a week and he was making 2300.

For some reason he seems to think that we still qualify for 180,000 range and has been looking all over for homes in that range, but I don’t think we do. I have done the mortgage calculators and it says we qualify for like 150,000… but that will get you nothing now a days.

We lost contact with the person who we got pre qualified with last year, and we met her through a friend that we lost contact with, so we are on our own and don’t know what the hell to do first!!!! He seems to think that if we buy a home for 180,000 that our mortgage payment will only be around 900-1000 a month (30 yrs.) but I think he is sadly mistaken and any time I try to tell him this is causes a HUGE fight. There is no way that we are gouing to get a home for 180,000 and only pay 1000 a month for a mortgage… maybe I am wrong?

He thinks that the first time home buyers program will cover all closing costs and things like that, and also is planning to only put down like 5,000… and still only pay 1000 a month on a 180,000 mortgage note!!!!

What loan should I get that would have the best rate and one that will not require me to put a bunch of money down??? Who should I go through?
Sorry all!!! I meant a 700 a month and 2300 a month!

The Expert answers:

You seem to have a much better idea of real life than he does. However you both need to learn a lot before you buy.

Ask friends or family that have bought homes in the area recently who they used to get a mortgage and if they were happy with the way things were done. Go visit the loan officer (in person) that they recommend. Ask what kind of programs are available for first time home buyers- ask what you can qualify for. Ask what your total payment will be including your payments for property tax and homeowners insurance. Only buy a place that you can comfortably make the payments on and leave some money for additional expenses like repairs or mowing lawns or stuff you want to furnish the home with.

Buying a home right now could the the greatest thing you ever did. In many parts of the country the prices are very low and the interest rates are extremely low. But you want to enjoy living there and that means you don’t want to get in over your head.

Also you only want to buy if you intend to stay in this area at least three to five years- because of the cost of buying and selling real estate.

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Your Questions About Real Estate

Ruth asks…

Looking for tips on buying a home?

Today I went to a “tralor park” near where I live. I currently rent. $700 a month. I am sick of throwing my money down the toilet and into some elses bank account. So, i know what every one is going to say “trailor parks are for white trash…” ” trailor parks are nasty and dirty…” but this one truley isn’t. The two homes that I am debating between look like houses. (one is like a cute country cottage) Anyway. I am wondering if anyone has any experiance living in a moble home. What should I look for, what should I expect. I would love to buy a house (real estate) but they are all to expensive. I can buy a moble home in cash and it would be mine. So, not trying to be rude. but i don’t need to hear to put money down on a house etc…
Thanks for any advice or help you can give.
Thanks for all the advice. but i think i am more confused now then I was! I used to be a realtor, so i know all the in’s and out’s with real estate and morgage companies. I know I would only be renting the land that the house is on, but i would own the house. The man that i talked to today told me that the trend ten years ago was that they depreciated, but now they aren’t (as long as they are kept up) he said they appreciate. I don’t want to throw my money away, and the only way to do that is by buying a real house. But i can’t get a loan for one. I don’t work at a stable job, and can’t show them a stable income history. I’m just confused:(

The Expert answers:

It sounds like to me you are doing your homework before you buy your mobile home. Very good plan.
Check with the local police dept regarding the trailer park/surrounding community. Burglary, car theft, assault, etc.. All these rates should be examined, especially if you will be living by yourself.

I personally like the part when you say, paying “cash” and it will be yours. There is something to be said for no monthly house payment. Would it be possible for you to start saving that payment each month?

Compare models of mobile homes by more than just their appearance. The exteriors are much more appealing, but a pretty front door won’t keep you warm if it doesn’t fit right.

Read your sales contract very carefully. What are the procedures if your home develops problems within 1 yr, 2 yrs, etc…? Think of this as a Buyer Beware situation so research carefully your model, know the law regarding consumer protection, and protect yourself afterwards.

Good luck….

James asks…

Any tips for cold calling apartment dwellers asking if they’re buying a home in the next year?

I cold call apartments in the evenings seeking anyone thinking about buying a home in the next year. They generally don’t mind the call, I’m not trying to sell them a vacuum or life insurance, I’m just asking if they’ve thought of buying in the next year.

I’m looking for any tips from anyone who might do this or maybe anyone living in an apartment right now, if you received this call how would you like to be approached?

The Expert answers:

Just assume that they are buinyg..

Hi – i”m calling to ask you some questions regarding the house you are plannign on purchasing … Do you have a few moments.

John asks…

anyone have tips on buying blueprints for a home for a first time home buyer?

how do you know what the home will cost, etc?

The Expert answers:

It’s best to find a reliable builder. (referrals are a great source) The builder can provide you with plans, or you can make your own in certain areas. Then they can help you with cost. Most will have a baseline model, then you can add options at additional costs.

Good luck!!

Nancy asks…

My Husband and I are buying our first Home. What are some tips and advice that we should know???

We dont really know about different percentage rates and what they mean. We are going to use a VA Loan. We are buying in Columbia SC. We know to get a newer home. But what else should we know.

The Expert answers:

Try and apple for the loan by yourself without your husband as a Co-applicant, or have him apply by himself without you as a Co-applicant. This is a great way of kepping the other persons credit good without it being tied into the mortgage. Just in case some day things get tough the other persons good credit can save you both. However in this case you would make sure and ask that both names go under the title.
One persons name for credit, both under the title.

Do try and get a conventianal fixed loan 15/20/30 years, you pick how many years would be best for you. Shop around for your loan before you find a house so that you know what you qualify for. This also gives you a chance to get the best rate.

You may want to check out this website i ended up getting my loan through them.


They where straight to the point and got my my current loan which i love 15 year fixed at 4.625%.
Rates have gone up since then so don’t expect to find this rate again. They do show all of their rates on line, if you fill in the calculator they have provided. I did a lot of research on this company and was satisfied when i found that they where rated as one of the best mortgage companies by both CNN and comsumers digest.

You need to find a real estate agent, if you know someone you can trust go for it. Ask relatives who they have dealt with and what their experience was like. If you find a house for sale that you really like and you do not have an agent yet, contact to agent who is selling it this will increase your chances of getting the home as he will probably push the sale to you, because he would get double the commission.

Make sure you learn about the neighborhood, how safe is it? How far is it from your work? How far is it from your family, how far are the schools? How far is the nearest market? Etc… All these thing will have an effect in your life, for example how much money you will be spending in gas going back and forth every day. I have known some people who have bought cheap homes far away and thought they where saving money, yet they now spend all their savings on gas, and mechanical repairs (wear & tear) to their cars.

Negotiate your price after all this is a buyers market.

George asks…

Tips for buying first home any advice?

We are looking into buying our first home. We are working with a mortgage company. Should we apply for more than one? How do we know we are getting the best rates? Should we go ahead and buy without a down payment? We just finished college and are looking ot moving closer to where we are going to be working…it looks like we qualify for a loan, but are unsure how much we can afford. According to the calculators that many of the sites have we can’t afford as much as many of the houses are going for…but we are very good with our money and I think we can pay out 1/3 of our income if not more…any thoughts, thanks.

The Expert answers:

Buying a house is a big step; my first question would be, do you really believe that you can pay out 1/3 of your income? I would never never advise anyone to attempt that percentage of their income. This will leave you no safety net, no money for unexpected bills. You need to have something set aside for the unexpected; and with 1/3 going into your mortgage payments you could get into trouble. I do not know if you have children, or are planning children. But one unexpected child will change your finances enormously. No one really should go over 25%. If you can wait, and save up more money and put a bigger down payment on a house, you will not have to overcommit yourselves. And don’t think that your first house has to be a mansion; consider a “fixer-upper.” A little sweat can save you a lot of money. Good luck, and don’t be in a hurry to buy that house!

Joseph asks…

Any tips on buying a forclosed home?

I will have about $24,000 saved up next year and with the housing market in a slump this is the best time to buy cheap… any helpful hints or spotted property

The Expert answers:

Inspect thoroughly, if you can! Expect to find significant damage. People are stripping out the cooper pipes and wiring!

Make sure no squatters have moved in.

Is it in a neighborhood full of foreclosed homes? Beware!

There may be weasels in the attic.

Paul asks…

I am considering buying my first home without a broker. Any tips on what I should be aware of?

I may buy directly from a homeowner. Where do I look for a home inspector? I live in Bergen County NJ. Any ideas? Thanks for any help.

The Expert answers:

I agree with the previous posters, as a first time home buyer you should work with a broker to guide you through the process and protect your interests.

I usually work with home inspectors who have some background in construction or general contracting because they can easily spot potential cover ups, and give additional insight and information as to the quality and the condition of the property.

As far as finding a home inspector, google “new jersey home inspectors” and you can start your search there. Again, another advantage of working with a broker is that the broker usually has a list of inspectors he has used in the past and have provided excellent service and results.

Linda asks…

anyone got tips for buying a late model mobile home?

to keep from getting taken by the salesmen?

The Expert answers:

The best tip I can give you is don’t do it. They depreciate too fast, and I believe you will regret the purchase.

David asks…

I’m buying a home for the first time, any tips or recommendations?

Anything you can think of I need to know, look out for, or prepare for. Any hidden costs? Is there a lender you recomend?

The Expert answers:

Get a terrific support team around you. This consists of a real estate agent, a home inspector, and a mortgage broker. Get referrals from friends, relatives, co-workers to find a good real estate agent, one who knows the areas where you’re looking, who has lots of experience, and that you can personally get along with.

A mortgage broker who represents several financial institutions, can review your financials and can see what the best deal for you would be, based on the options he has.

A home inspector is an independent contractor who does a thorough inspection of the house you want to buy and not only tells you about any defects, will give you a ballpark of what it will cost to fix these defects.

Just some general advice: when buying, also think of resale value. Buy in the best neighborhood you can afford, but never buy the most expensive house in the neighborhood (it will not appreciate as much as less expensive houses).

When you do walk-throughs, take pictures or videotape and also take notes, because after a while, all of the houses will all combine in your mind and you won’t remember if it was the first house that had the nice kitchen or if the second house was the one with the small backyard.

Not only have enough money for your downpayment, also have money for closing costs (your realtor will help you figure it out) as well as costs associated with new furniture, fixing up your new house, moving, etc. I’ve seen far too many people focus on getting into their new house, only to have no money left over to paint, get new carpeting, and live in a house with no dining room furniture for 2 years because they didn’t have the money!

Buying a house can be a stressful experience, but if you get a good support team behind you that knows what they’re doing, it will be much less stressful.

Good luck!

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Your Questions About Real Estate

George asks…

How do I improve my credit for first-time home buying?

I’m naive to home buying and pretty much don’t know how credit works…I know, sad for a 26 y/o, but I need to figure this out. I’m not sure what my credit is, nor do I know how to check it, or improve it so that I’ll be able to buy a home. And as for buying a home, I have no idea how that whole process works out. HELP!!!

The Expert answers:

No, you are in the right direction.
Two websites both for free uses 1 for credit report and one for credit score absolutely free. You don’t have to pay for anything.


To get a good rate on the mortgage your credit score needs to maintain above 720
reduce your debt as much as possible

You need to have earn income
2 years of W-2
last 6 month of bank statement
2 recent paystub to prove you have enough income.
Set aside some money for down payment and closing cost. Because gone is the time no down, no income loan.
So get the loan pre-approve before checking the house out.

So that the basic stuffs first

Ruth asks…

Are there any home buying education classes I can take online?

I am trying to buy a home but they want me to go to a home buying education class/seminar which last seven hrs on a Saturday but I don’t have the time. Does anyone have any other suggestions on how I can go threw the course by taking it online?
Im a first time buyer and need to find out if there are home buyer programs I can do online

The Expert answers:

We are getting a loan through USDA and they told us to take our class online. When you get done they will email you a certificate to print out. It doesn’t cost anything and you can take it again until you get the grade you want. Here is the website they referred us too! Make sure that it is ok with your lender first, otherwise you may still have to take another class. Good luck!


Michael asks…

Question about home buying for the first time??

I am looking at buying a home. I was wondering what the process was and if anyone could give any tips on buying, what to look for, how much to have stuck back, etc? Any info would be greatly appreicated!

The Expert answers:

First you would need to get a real estate agent to help you find a home. While you’re browsing homes you’d need to get pre-approved for a mortgage so that when you find one, you can place an offer immediately. If your offer is accepted you’d then have to arrange to have insurance and to get an inspection of the home as well as a lawyer to search for any liens or other hidden problems with the home. If that all goes well, then you can buy the home and move in depending on when the closing date is set for.

For a downpayment you could expect to put down 20% of the mortgage or else pay a penalty of about 2.5 to 2.75% of the mortgage. You should keep about 3-5% of the value of the home in easily available cash as well for all the problems that will occur soon after or renovations you will want to make.

Jenny asks…

What are th pros and cons associated with buying a manufactured home instead of a stick built home?

Prepare for many more home buying questions from me, cause I don’t know what the H I’m doing. lol

The Expert answers:

Con: Depreciation

Depreciation Method – This is the method that has been used for all manufactured homes. The sale price of the home is reduced to either 80% for a furnished home or 95% for an unfurnished home. A depreciation allowance of 5% per year is then applied to the reduced sales price until a maximum depreciation allowance of 35% for furnished homes or 50% for unfurnished homes is reached. This depreciated amount is then multiplied by 40% to create the assessed or “taxable” value. The assessed value is then multiplied by the full tax rate to determine the amount of annual taxes that are billed semi-annually.

Another Con: Averages a 50 yr life span.

Donald asks…

Home Buying- Is it legal to charge courier fees in the state of Florida?

I heard that the Florida Statute changed in 2008 and courier fees should be included in the closing fee, and not additional? I am being charged $100 in courier fees for buying a home?

The Expert answers:

A quick search of the Internet shows Title companies still charging courier fees. It is really a moot point anyway – if they couldn’t charge the $100 separately, they would just roll it into other closing fees and you would end up paying them anyway. At least this way you know what they are and you can negotiate them.

Lisa asks…

Which is better, buying a manufactured home or renting a house?

We could buy the manufactured home for $25,000 @ 15 % simple interest or rent a house with 2 bedrooms, one bath for $420.00/month. The manufactured home has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths and comes with all new appliances. (fridge/freezer, microwave, dishwasher, washer/dryer,stove) lot rental would be $150/month. We just can’t seem to decide because the house has no heat/air and is high on electricity bills in winter, and the manufactured home has central heat/air but depreciates in value over time and is more costly as opposed to staying where we are at but it would be OURS as opposed to the rented house. We need an objective opinion either the rented house or the manufactured home. Buying a house is not an option right now. I have also heard that if a manufactured home is put on a permanent foundation it doesn’t lose it’s value. If you need more details please specify them and I will include them if needed. I will pick the best answer. Thank you!
This manufactured home and the house are located in Tennessee.

The Expert answers:

Don’t buy a manufactured home!! A manufactured home is like buying a car. It depreciates with time!! Do not let anyone tell you different. I work in mortgage finance and we wont even refi or give a 2nd mortgage on a manufactured home because in all reality per lending guidelines its not a house! The permenant foundation is a myth!! The the value will decrease! I turn countless people away per day that call my office asking for help on loans with a manufactured home and it breaks my heart everytime to be the person to tell them the bad news that its not a home regardless of upgrades additions or foundations!!! That we can not help them!! Whoever is telling you that is just trying to get you to buy the home!! Call any major lender and ask if they will refi or give you a 2nd mortgage on your manufactured home..they will all tell you NO!! By lenders I mean like the big lenders like Citibank, WAMU, Countrywide ect. It is better to save your money and buy a house!! Until then rent a home. You are just throwing your money away if you get a manufactured home as you will not get any profit out of it to buy a home when you are ready!! So do not count on selling a manufactured home to help get a downpayment on a real home!! And just an fyi 15% is an outragiously high interest rate! So if you decide to get the home I would shop around for a better loan if I was you. Good luck!

Richard asks…

What does ACR mean in home buying when they say buyer to sign “acr” prior to close?

I would also like to know what it means when one of the home features you’re considering for buying says “Gravity – Oil Heat”?

The Expert answers:

Gravity heat is when the furnace is in the basement, and isn’t forced air, or no blower. It just kinda rises. The one you listed uses fuel oil.

Lizzie asks…

Buying a home through Homes Unlimited, any suggestions?

Anyone ever go through Homes Unlimited before? Were they helpful, reliable, trustworthy, etc??? We’re new at this, and would like all the info we can get. Any suggestions related to home buying welcome.

The Expert answers:

Since I do not know where you are located….here’s a link to the better business bureau’s listings of “Homes Unlimited”….there are several. See if you can find the one that you’re planning on advising with to get your new home…good luck!


a few tips fo you…as a friendly experienced buyer…

USE A REALTOR and use common sense to select one; especially when buying a home and even a new home. Sellers pay Realtor commissions and although the theory might be that the home can be obtained for less without a realtor, the fact is that buyers who do not use Realtors are doing the seller a financial favor. Realtors are responsible to know the areas they tour and can save buyers a lot of problems. We’ve had great results with Coldwell Banker. They have a great referral network and an impressive concierge system. Of course other Realtors have excellent track records too.

Demand a great deal from your Realtor and do not hesitate to look at new homes without them. At the same time, be faithful to a Realtor that is doing a good job. The home we selected here in Florida was greatly influenced by literally dozens of homes our Realtor showed us, but the Realtor did not happen to be with us when we first looked in Osprey Lakes. When we submitted our offer, we made it clear that our offer was pending their willingness to work with our Realtor, Respectable builders always work with your Realtor.

DO NOT HESITATE TO FIRE YOUR REALTOR if they are not doing their job. When you sign on with a Realtor, make sure you have rights to cancel the contract under non-performance circumstances. Reputable Realtors will not want to continue a relationship with buyers or sellers that are not happy with them.

Make sure your mortgage terms include a float down opportunity prior to closing. Get this in writing and make sure it reads that way. Do not let the mortgage company tell you that something means something other than what the paperwork states.

Many mortgage companies add a great number of “junk” fees to their closing costs. Have your Realtor examine the fees and negotiate inappropriate ones to be removed from the terms.

Laura asks…

Does rental property complicate buying a home?

If you buy your first home and their is a rental unit attached to it then how will that affect the home buying process? Will you not qualify for the normal tax credits? Will the bank treat you any differently?

The Expert answers:

No the lender will not. You are buying a primary residence to live in. The rental only makes the property more valuable. Years ago first time home buyers always bought a two family house. The lender takes into consideration the rent money as income for you , Allowing you to make the house more affordable

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Your Questions About Real Estate

William asks…

What are good reference books or websites for first-time home buying?

I’m planning on buying a home in the Seattle area in a year (for a single female).

The Expert answers:

Check out the resources available at this site:

For information specific to the state of Washington, check out:

Good luck with your search and home purchase.

Chris asks…

What are some political aspects in home buying?

I am doing a paper and part of it consist of writing about the political aspects of home buying process. If anyone can help me with some ideas that would be great.

The Expert answers:


Fair Housing rules that prevent descrimination when selling or buying homes.

Tax incentives or cost

Interest Rates for loans which follow the Fed.

Best of Luck

Ken asks…

How can I put together a home buying offer myself?

Hi, I am interested in putting together my home buying offer myself. (I found the house, and anyway that house need to be gutted). I intend to ask seller to credit “buyer” for buying agent commission.
Can someone let me know, if there is a place to find all the standard forms needed for Santa Clara county, California? and if there is any law that prevents buyers from placing their own offers? Thanks for your time and help.
No spammers please. I will flag your answers.

The Expert answers:

You can place your own offer, but you can not effect the commission. With only one agent involved that agent is entitled to the full commission, you can not be paid or credited with a commission unless you are a licensed real estate agent. Since you have no clue what you are doing the selling agent is going to have to do all of the work anyway, they will certainly deserve all the pay since they are doing all of the work.

Lizzie asks…

Is there something that you wish you knew before buying your home?

I am looking to buy a home for the first time. Please tell me some things that I need to take into consideration when making home-buying decisions… things that maybe you wish you thought about before buying yours.

The Expert answers:

(1) I wish we had thought more about resale potential – we bought a house that we liked because it was unusual, and we unexpectedly need to move and are having an extra-hard time selling for a good price because there are fewer people interested in our type of house

(2) Having a 20% downpayment is a highly recommended–puts you in a much better mortgage situation (e.g., size of monthly payments). We didn’t, and thought it was fine (big mistake! We can afford the payments fine but would have been so much better off to save for a couple of years rather than spend so much money on mortgage interest)

(3) Related to #1–make sure we wanted to live here for a long period of time (5+ years); renting has the advantage of being able to move easily!

(4) I wish I knew the housing market was going to crash! We had no desire to “flip” a house or anything like that, but we were naive in thinking we wouldn’t be “throwing our money away” like renting and it is turning out to be the opposite–we are stuck in a house we don’t want to live in and also maintenance costs are very expensive (and we did have an inspection, and nothing has been an unexpected cost, but it adds up)

(5) Our neighbors aren’t great (we have nothing in common with them), make sure to check out the neighborhood in a detailed way to make sure its a good fit!

(6) Avoid the “pressure” to buy when you find something you like–you will probably find something even better if you just keep looking.

Robert asks…

How reputable are the subscription-fee agencies that find pre-foreclosures and no-credit home buying?

Some financial companies are charging subscription fees and promising potential homebuyers with good income a 95% success rate in buying a home with access to their databases. Do these work? Is this reputable?

The Expert answers:

I am a realtor in Florida. I would say go to a Realtor. No charge for the buyer in most cases. Seller typically pays all fees…A good Realtor knows what properties are in foreclosure, short sale, bank owned, etc.

Mark asks…

Has anyone ever tried the Free and Clear home buying program and does it work?

I was watching the infomercial about this Free and Clear home buying program where you only pay the property tax for the home and don’t have to pay the mortgage and I was wondering if that was really possible or was it just a scam.

The Expert answers:

If it is in print send a copy of it to your state’ real estate commission. They can tell.

In some big cities they had this type of programme to rehab abandoned property, there are string attached and and you pay a dollar to buy the property from city or government agency.

If it is above type of property, you will need to apply for it and application is handled in various way. In all cases you must be qualified purchaser.

List of just a few deal types:

Highest bidder(no minim bid).

Highest bidder(but minim bid).

No bid-one dollar (in case of multiple applicant-raffled).

Various other type.

Good Luck.



you can request info from various government by requesting in writing or calling.

Mandy asks…

What are some things to do/keep in mind, when buying a new home?

My family and I have decided to end our renting way of life and buy an affordable and comfortable home for the family. Having great credit, applying to different banks and so on are some of the things we’ve done. But what more could we do and what are some mistakes people usually make when buying a home? Please give some advice on this subject based on your experience of buying home and the do’s and don’ts of home buying. Thank You.

The Expert answers:

See, in person, a lot of potential homes based on your needs, ie. Number of bedrooms, space etc.

Do not fall “in love” with a particular home. If you love the kitchen in a home it is fairly easy to change into a different home.

Be prepared to walk away from a house if the seller wont negotiate.

Most important features:

Neighborhood/location – proximity to schools etc. Even if you don’t have kids it is good for resale.
Sq. Footage – not so big that you need to buy a whole bunch of furniture etc to fill it but big enough for the amount of people.
Price – do not pay more than you are comfortable paying for because you will like your new home a lot more if you feel you got it for a steal.

Richard asks…

What is keeping first time home buyers from buying a home?

Besides the obvious reasons like no money down or bad credit…. what kind of concerns do people have when going into the home buying process. Any kind of answer will help. thanks.

The Expert answers:

1. The likelihood that real estate prices will fall even further.
2. Renting a home is probably cheaper than owning one right now and gives you much more flexibility if you should need to move.

John asks…

Thinking about buying a new home, but it has a mortgage. Can we still buy another home?

We are sort of in the market for a new home. But we have a mortgage on the one we’re in. I was wondering if there is a way
to swap mortgages on property or swap property to get out of the area that we’re in? I just need some tips in home buying, while owning another home. Thank you.

The Expert answers:

You can use the equity in your current home to buy the new home if you want to keep your first home as an investment property.

Generally, you cannot swap mortgages. However, there are some types of loans like assumable FHA loans that if you were FHA approved you could take over the sellers loan. However, 99% of loan out there have an due on sale clause that if you sell the home you are required to pay the full amount left on the loan.

You should contact your Realtor or our accountant to discuss investment property of you want to own more than one home at a time.

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