Home Buying

For most people buying a home is one of the biggest financial and lifestyle decisions they will ever make. This category could possibly help assist you in making an informed decision about that purchase, so before you decide to buy a home, make sure you're ready by checking out some of the answers in this category.

Home Equity and Refinancing
Home Buying

What questions should a first-time home buyer ask during the open houses or home showings?

Buying a home can be a daunting experience. Here is some advice from Answers.com contributors on what to ask/do during home showings:
  • You can ask whatever you want, but they don't necessarily have to tell you the truth. Open Houses are a great way to see a house, not a great way to get info on it. Remember that in most states the real estate agent at an open house works for the seller. Usually you have the right to be represented by your own agent, and that's the person you should direct your questions to. It doesn't cost any more. Your agent has a reason to give you accurate information and help you find a good house.
  • First of all, you need to talk to at least 3 mortgage companies BEFORE you start looking for houses to discuss rates and estimated payments. It's always better to have an idea of what you can afford. There are also online payment estimators. In my experience, banks will preapprove you for more than you can really afford once you add in insurance and taxes. While it's fun to go look at million dollar homes, it will do nothing but frustrate you if you can't get a loan for even a quarter million dollar home. Yes, an agent can contact a mortgage company for you. Banks and credit unions usually have lower fees and commissions, though.
  • You should ask the sellers any and all questions that you may have regarding the foundation and any problems with the house. Ask about anything that concerns you but remember that unless you put it in writing as part of your offer the answer is not legally binding upon the seller. If the seller completes a seller's property condition report then you should have it written into the offer that the seller's property condition report survives the closing of the purchase & sale.
  • Ask the seller: What do you like most about the property and what do you like least about the property? Sellers will almost always lie when responding to this question, and it will give you a feel that there are issues relating to the property that the seller is concealing. Sometimes the seller give you a totally honest answer and even tell you what he or she don't like with the property. TRY to listen carefully to the seller, because sellers like to talk a lot about their property and in the process disclose more information than their broker would like them to.
  • Go into all closets and cabinets and look up at the sealing for fresh paint or brown spots, which is evidence of roof leaks. Flush toilets and turn on faucets which will reveal evidence of plumbing or septic issues etc.
  • After going through two property buying experiences I discovered that it is pretty difficult to find Realtors and Mortgage Brokers that are truly looking out for your well being 100%. Problems, such as city liens and delinquent personal property tax (missed by a title search) that a Realtor should know and address or informed us about, we found out a month or close to a year after owning the property.
  • An open house is more or less for the agent to gather leads. When you are shown a house and it is not YOUR agent be aware as with the above answer that they are not looking out for your best interest. It is always best to find a buyer agent. They will look out for your best interest. They will remember anything you say about how much you are preapproved for.
  • DO NOT CALL every agent listed on each house you are interested in looking at. Real Estate agents work on commission only. It is a waste of your time and theirs to come out to show you a house and then you sign with another agent. Yes, the agents are paid after closing, and the check given to their broker for their cut. Many people in the general public don't realize this. Would you want to work for nothing?
  • I highly recommend getting a buyer agent to show you any homes you are interested in. They may also help search for homes that fit your needs. The agent will ask you questions, talk with your mortgage company and get the seller's disclosure for you. If you are a first time home buyer, there are many advantages to having someone guide you through it. Once you have an agent and you want to go to an open house, take the opportunity to do it. Be sure you tell the agent holding the open house that you do have an agent and will be calling them if you like it.
  • You should find yourself a buyers agent to solely represent your interests, get referrals to 2 or 3 lenders and arrange your loan. Then have your agent search for property that matches the properties in your price range. Alternatively, you can research homes on the Internet for your agent to arrange visits to. It's a good idea to always use your agent to communicate to the sellers agent or to the seller. Don't go to an open house and express your interests to the other agent, they will want you to use their services. And when one agent represents both the buyer and seller there is an obvious fiduciary conflict on who the agent should be more loyal to.
  • Although one might be scared by the thought of a fiduciary conflict, the issues of conflict in representing both the seller and buyer on a price negotiation is worse. Also, if you do not have a buyer's agent giving you detailed advice on what has sold in the area in similar properties, you may overpay, not realizing the home is overpriced.
  • In Massachusetts, and perhaps other states, the agent holding the open house is working for the seller. If you ask that person to help you with the process and write up the offer, that person is still working for the seller, and is only assisting you with it, but does not represent you. Only if you sign something saying that person is your buyer's agent does that person work for you. In Massachusetts, if they are working for both, they are a dual agent. If the person helping you is a seller's agent, he/she can tell the seller any information about you that you tell, including personal and financial info, and that can be to your disadvantage in negotiations, and that person's purpose is to get the most money out of you to give to the seller. If you already have a buyer's agent and you enter an open house, put your agent's name on the sign in sheet, and perhaps give the agent the card of your buyer's agent. If you wish to make an offer, the seller's agent can then cooperate with your buyer's agent. The commission percentage is decided when the seller lists the property. If the seller's agent also handles the offer, the seller's company gets the whole commission. It is not less because it is handled by one company. If there is a buyer agent, the commission, same amount, gets divided between the two companies.
  • I would ask: when was the gas boiler last serviced and has it been regularly serviced tested, if there are trees overhanging the gardens, fences and gates, who is responsible for maintenance and pruning, look at the exterior gutters and fashia boards - when were these painted if at all, how old is the gas fired boiler, and consider if it may need replacing, if there have been replacement double glaze windows, are these still under guarantee.
  • The first thing you should ask when you are going to buy your own house or property and also you are just a first time home buyer is about the safety of the place, then next ask if the house already undergone on home inspection, then you need to ask also about the possible calamities that the house already experienced and of course do not forget to ask about the contract and price whenever you are decided to get the place.
  • If you are looking at a distressed home (repossessed or short sale) ask for an amount of repair money to be included to cover electrical, water heater, furnace, stove and roof deficiencies. Otherwise once the offer is accepted, you may be in a bind if your mortgage company will not give you a loan if the house has appraisal issues and the bank or FNMA will not repair them. Really, this is not for cosmetic issues, but rather house systems.
Home Buying

How old do you have to be to buy land in Missouri?


Home Buying

How big is 08 acres?

.08 acres is 3,484.8 square feet. (43,560 x .08)

Home Buying
Real Estate
Real Estate Buying and Selling
Real Estate Investing

Cost of Real Estate reconveyance fee?

We are in the process of having a recoveyance done after paying a 1 year contract on our home .....

Home Buying
DIY Projects

How do you know if you have a septic tank?

If you are in a city, it is unlikely you have a septic system. Country, you probably do. Most places have a charge for sewer on the water bill. If you are on a well, you have a septic. When it is dry in the summer, the grass over the lateral field will be green longer than the rest of the yard. Look to see where the main drain leaves the house. If it is towards the street you are on a sewer, if towards the side or back yard, it is most likely a septic.

Home Buying

Is naca a scam?

NACA is no scam but it is no cakewalk either.

The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America is a HUD certified non profit counseling organization.

If you complete the NACA program you will get a 30 year fixed, no closing cost, no down payment home mortgage at a rate of 3.875% (as of 9-2-14)

To qualify for the NACA mortgage you must meet the following base criteria:

1. 12 months of on time payments on any revolving debt.

2. All charge offs paid off within 24 months.

3. Positive rental history for 24 months.

4. Home must be owner occupied.

5. The expected mortgage payment of the new property must be equal to or less than the affordable figure determeined by NACA

6. Must demonstrate ability to put mney in to savings every month to show ability to make proposed mortgag payment amount and accumulate funds for pre-paid items such as inspections and insurance.

7. Verifiable and recorded income for 24 months, (self employed included)

Home Equity and Refinancing
Home Buying

What fees are included with closing costs?

Usually closing cost will include origination fees, discount points, lenders fees, escrow fees, credit report cost, title insurance fees, title search fees, flood certificate, notary fees. Other closing costs include title insurance, courier fees, wire fees, and mortgage and deed taxes as well as recording costs.

Recurring Costs- Fees that will be charged on a regular basis after you've bought your home. These are not actual "closing costs"; even though you will actually be paying them at the time of closing.

  1. Fire insurance
  2. Flood insurance
  3. Property taxes
  4. Mutual or private mortgage insurance
  5. Prepaid interest

You might want to think in the area of about $1800- this amount will be added into your mortgage loan amount and so it will not come from your pocket at time of signing & closing but don't forget you still will be asked to put up an initial 10 % of the of the asking price ( to the bank issuing the mortgage loan)

Closing costs refer to the expenses associated with buying property. These settlement costs are fees paid by purchasers upon receipt of their loan from their banks and generally range between 2-7% of the total loan value. While a substantial portion of these costs is paid on the day of closing, some of these costs are almost always paid on an earlier date.

The Real Estate Procedures Closing Act (RESPA) requires that lenders and mortgage brokers give buyers a GOOD FAITH ESTIMATE of all loan-related expenses due at closing. However, these estimates do not guarantee actual mortgage closing costs.

The following charges are typically included in the total closing cost for a given real estate transaction:

1.Closing Costs to Obtain a Loan

2.Closing Costs Paid in Advance

3.Escrow Account Payments

4.Miscellaneous Closing Costs

Home & Garden
Building and Carpentry
Home Buying

What is the Life cycle of T-111 wood siding?

T111 comes in different grades of material and center lines are on 8" and 16" ,masonite is hardest to maintain, fir is good but needs constance painting , cedar is probably best and should be stained only , but you will find placement of T111 varies from wall to wall a bright sunny wall may warp or peel the finish and a cool damp wall might let mold and mildew set in and rot the material. life span would vary from climate location so it would be hard to put a life expectancy on it .

Home Equity and Refinancing
Home Buying
Small Business Loans

Where can you get a co-op equity line of credit?

* Before applying for a home equity loan, check with each lender to find out what their Loan To Value Ratio (LTVR) is, depending upon how much equity you have in your co-op this will have a big impact on what you can qualify for.

Personal Finance
Home Buying
Money Management

Accelerate a loan?

To accelerate a loan is to demand full and immediate payment of the entire unpaid balance of the loan, including principal, interest, late charges and collection costs (not just the delinquent portion).

Home Equity and Refinancing
Home Buying

Should you get a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit?

Mortgage loans and home equity loans are two different types of loans you can take out on your home. A first mortgage is the original loan that you take out to purchase your home. Second mortgage means cover a part of buying of your home or to cash out some of the equity of your home. It is important to understand the differences between a mortgage and a home equity loan before you decide which loan you should use. Both types of loans have the same tax benefit since you can deduct the interest on each.

Home Buying

Will selling your current home improve your credit for buying a new home?

It depends if you paid your mortgage on time while in your home. If you were late then it will be in the history on your credit report. The creditors history makes up 35% of the credit report.

Many lenders require at least 3 open lines of credit to qualify for a mortgage, so if paying off your current mortgage leaves you with less than 3, that could exclude you from many borrowing options.

Your payment history is what will contribute to your credit score. A lender for the new loan will also look at your debt to income ratio (DIR) and that will determine whether they will offer you the loan. For many of us, the math of paying two mortgages does not work out to being solvent. So, selling the first home, or presenting the lender with a signed lease for a renter, will help improve your ratio.

Home Buying

What are the benefits of buying foreclosed homes?

AnswerThe obvious benefit is that you are purchasing a distressed property that has to be sold because of an unfortunate financial situation. This should result in a below market price purchasing opportunity.

Financing will differ if you are purchasing the property as an investment or as a primary residence. Many of these properties will also have repairs that will need to be made in order to pass inspection and bank appraisal, so you will need to have a clause in your purchase agreement covering this eventuality. For instance, if it is a HUD house, you may find yourself in a position where you are unable to get a loan on the house if certain repairs are not done and HUD refuses to do them, let you pay for them, or do them yourself. It can be a sticky wicket.

It also depends on whether you are buying only as an investment or if you intend to occupy the house. For example you may not want to live in a neighborhood where most of the homes are rentals, but this may not matter if it is an investment.

As with any major purchase you need to do your homework because many of the laws that protect you in a conventional real estate transaction may not apply to a foreclosed property. Further many times if the person who owned the home was foreclosed on because of not being able to make their mortgage payments, there may be other debts such as property taxes that will need to be considered.

Remember that these people are "losing their home," and you may be the target of their disappointment. On your final walkthrough (or do so before closing), take pictures of the home, particularly light fixtures, fans and appliances. Our sellers made off with many of the lighting fixtures and parts of the house and we had no recourse.

Finally, if you do buy a foreclosed house, make sure that you have some savings to apply to repairs and replacements. These houses are a great deal pricewise, but there will be some sweat equity involved for the bargain.

AnswerAt first glance, it looks like a tempting deal: you get a perfectly good home for practically half the price for sale, or even less. But this could be a catch, because every city has unscrupulous sellers, buyers, agents and lenders. So, take note of the following points:
  • Know What You're Buying
  • Do A Title Search
  • Get Insurance
  • Check Into The Equity
  • Work With Your Agent
AnswerForeclosure homes offers you the smartest way to save lot of money and time (if the foreclosed property is in great shape). If you have no time and not much more money to invest for getting best home in your preferred area then buying foreclosure homes for sale could be the best solution. But follow the advice above.
Home Buying
Job Interviews
Job Applications

Who is a good personal reference?

Someone who knows your personal ethics other than a family member/responsible/reputable.

Home Buying

How can you buy a house if you have bad credit?

Yes, you can buy your first home with bad credit by accessing federal and local resources and saving for a larger down payment. The first step is applying to lenders for pre-qualification so that you know, for sure, the amount and interest rate that they will loan you. It is probably cheaper to first use calculators online (ie. bankrate.com) to determine what a mortgage will cost. From there, you'll need to work with your income and expense information to see how that would work for you. Finally, obtain your credit reports and check them for accuracy. You will not qualify for a loan if there is a lien or a judgement, so work on paying those off. Unpaid accounts also can trip you up. You may be able to call the companies and get a settlement price and then you will get a "paid" next to that item. These are things that companies offer to help you with for a fee; however a non-profit credit agency can help you or you can do it yourself for free.

The benefit to resolving your credit issues is that your loan will be at a lower interest rate and the mortgage will fit your life plan from the beginning.

What is keeping you from spending a couple of years saving a down payment and improving your credit along the way? For most people, past history will be repeated if they do not start monitoring their finances and paying on time . You can buy a house, but if you do not have savings and stable financials, the expenses of maintaining a home may break your heart.

Personal Finance
Home Equity and Refinancing
Student Loans and Financial Aid
Home Buying
Money Management

Can you get a home equity loan or line of credit on a cooperative apartment?

Yes, you can obtain a home equity loan or line of credit through the Bank of New York. They also offer mortgage loans on cooperatives.

Yes, you can obtain a home equity loan or a line of credit on co-ops through the Bank of NY.

It's true that Bank of New York offers home equity loans or lines of credit on a coop at a very competitive rate. But if you want an alternative, Chase does it as well.

Car Buying
Personal Finance
Home Equity and Refinancing
Home Buying
Money Management

Is it wise to get a home equity loan to buy a new car?


No. Home equity loans are revolving credit lines. In simple terms, that means you could pay on that for three years and not even touch the principal. I wouldn't do it. Maybe rolling it into a consolidation loan if you have enough equity in your home, but not a HELOC.


No. You want to avoid "institutionalizing" your debt. In other words, you don't want to spend 15 years on an equity loan paying for a car that you might only have 5-6 years. It really depends on your personal situation. If you have lots of equity in a house, and the monthly payments aren't too much, and you expect that the house will continue to appreciate etc. then MAYBE. But what if interest rates rise (equity loans are usually directly tied to the fed rate), or the housing bubble bursts - then you are stuck with those payments forever. Upside is that the equity loan is tax deductible, car loan is not. Do the math!

Home Buying

If a house has evidence of termite tunnels in the garage but not inside the house is this a serious problem to reject a house?

As long as the home has been inspected and you have a termite bond there should not be a problem. The exterminator should take care of any "live" infestation and will inspect the house for structural integrity.

Personal Finance
Home Buying

If you have bad credit can you have a cosigner when buying a home?

The other person would have to qualify for the home loan. You could be on the loan as well and you both would share responsibility. Both of you would be on the deed until the house is paid for or refinanced under your own credit. It would be best for you to establish your own credit over the next couple of years and to buy the house in your own right. That is because, inevitably, co-signing with someone who has bad credit is unwise since they are irresponsible and it can create personal conflicts. You can buy a subscription for a credit report with the score for very little, which will enable you to keep track of your trades and score. Pay down your accounts to zero, don't close the oldest accounts that show as paid. You will need four paid, current accounts. Make sure your car payments are on time and that you do not owe more than it is worth. Your rent, any judgments, liens and so on need to be paid and on time. Plan to have 10 to 20% down payment saved for the home.

Home Improvement
Homeowner's Insurance
Home Buying

Can one buy insurance to cover the structural integrity of a used home?

The general theory or principle of homeowners insurance as it pertains to the structure itself is to repair or replace it to its pre-loss condition. It does not cover issues that are caused by deferred maintenance.

Coverage for Structural integrity and quality of workmanship issues are generally addressed under the Buyers Home Warranty offered through the realtor at the time of purchase. However, there are limitations to what the warranty will cover; the one we purchased would not cover appliances for 60 days after purchase.

Home Buying

Why wouldn't everyone want to buy a home that has been foreclosed if they are cheaper?

Buying Foreclosed HomesGenerally you are correct. However, there are a lot of factors involved in home buying other than just the price. If you are not in a hurry and do not want to live in a particular neighborhood then you can watch and wait for a deal that suits your needs.

Be prepared to do your homework with regards to the condition and pricing of the property. There may be reasons other than financial involved in the foreclosure.

Something many people don't ever consider is that foreclosures are often in serious disrepair.

I've seen homes where the residences just demolished the place - holes in walls, ripped up carpet and vinyl flooring, smashed porcelain in the bathrooms, broken windows. Don't get me wrong this is not too common. But every now and then some hothead decides that if he has to give up his house, he'll show the bank by 'getting even' with them.

More often you'll find neglect simply because the owners couldn't afford house payments so where were they going to get funds for basic repairs?

However...there are real gems out there if you are patient and persistent. A 200,000 home going for almost half it's appraised value...we missed out on one like this because 15 years ago it was more than we could afford even at that price. Gorgeous house, huge, in an affluent neighborhood. The owner spent so much on mortgage payments this huge home had almost no furnishings! Ahh, if only I'd known then...I'd have begged and borrowed the downpayment from friends and family. Just think of the sheer investment potential.

Then there are the government sales, and HUD homes. There used to be clauses that stipulated you had to reside in the home for a specified lenghth of time. On the up side, your financing often included the funds for improvements.

IMO, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Many people have no idea what it would take to get started investing in foreclosures. A lot don't have the time or the ability to make the improvements that will make a dump liveable or that can turn a nice house into a hefty profit for you.

My advice to anyone thinking about getting into a foreclosure: do your homework. Learn everything you can on the topic. Don't skimp on appraisers, inspectors, etc, or you may really regret it. Be careful and use common sense.

If you are not a 'handy' person, your cheap house may end up costing you more than you thought. On the other hand, if you have the time and skills... Our first house, though it wasn't a foreclosure, illustrates my point nicely. We put nothing down, purchased a home at the mid to low end of our budget (about 5K under appraisal), owned it six months while living there and making what was really minimal improvements: paint, wallpaper, new water heater, some inexpensive landscaping. Six months later we sold it for 20K more than we paid for it!The third house we bought in for 2 or 3 years and increased the value 18K. Number 2 was not bought for investment purposes, but we didn't lose money. And the one we are in now...been here 7 years. Last time we refinanced the appraisal value was 55K more than what we paid for it! But I think we'll stay here a while, I'm content with the house, neighborhood, schools.

Anyway, to answer your question: "Why doesn't everyone do it?" Not everyone knows how. Not everyone can. It's as simple as that.

At a foreclosure sale, the mortgage company makes the first bid and they bid what is owed on the loan. So to purchase a property at foreclosure sale you would have to bid over that amount.

As someone who worked for a mortgage company for many, many years, I can tell you that 95% of the time (and maybe more than that) after we resold the property we ended up with a loss (and usually a substantial one) because we were unable to sell the property for enough to cover the loan balance.

As a general rule, if the property is worth enough to payoff the loan, the mortgagor will sell it themselves, rather than having a foreclosure on their credit record.

With that said, I'm sure you can find 'deals' out there on foreclosed homes, but you would have to really look and do your research.

I would first like to say i specialize in foreclosures so hopefully i will give you some usefull information here.

First common misconception foreclosure laws are vastly different from state to state. You can find you local foreclures laws by looking at your state statutes.

In ga for instance we have no right of redemption,once it's sold at the courthouse steps the only thing that survives is property taxes owed,the IRS does not have a senior position on you but if there is a IRS tax lien on it they have 120 days from the foreclosure sell to reimburse what you have paid and claim the property for themselves,if they do not respond by then it deletes there claim on the property.

Another misconception PLEASE,PLEASE do not go to these foreclosure websites and pay them money for lists. Often times these lists are a month or 2 behind and the properties have not foreclosed,or are under contract or have already sold so don't waste your time and money. Another misconception is you will get rich quick,the late night programs that say i bought a house 120k for 30k and made a killing please give me 200. Did the person buy a house for that price sure but that was 1 out of 50 deals he did not all of them were that way but he wants to get you excited so you will buy his program.

Home Equity and Refinancing
Home Buying

Is it better to buy a single family or multi family home?

The answer depends on your life goals and style. But, in general, a 3 bedroom, 2 bath will be easier to resell.

Single? Middle-aged and childless? Retiring and traveling? For a place to live, close to jobs, family, and entertainment venues, a small, well-located condo may be the best answer. The advantages are ease--fewer unexpected maintenance expenses, less yardwork, usually access to recreation facilities and lower cost of ownership than a single family house in the same area.

Raising kids? Breeding dogs? Repairing cars? Enjoy gardening, nude swimming, loud music/home theater? Better buy a house, even though you'll have to spend more, or have less space, or a less desireable neighborhood, or a long commute. You'll have more personal freedom and privacy, though the neighbors will, too, so be sure you're the tolerant type.

Also, consider the HOA situation for the type of home you choose. Depending on the amenities of the subdivision, you may have higher costs beyond the cost of the home as well as committee oversight of any changes you may want to make to the exterior of your home.

I would suggest to look out for single family home, where you can live, move, eat and speak independently.

Home Equity and Refinancing
Home Buying

Can you get a home equity line without revolving credit?

Home equity line is a line of revolving credit with an adjustable interest rate whereas a home equity loan is a one time lump-sum loan, often with a fixed interest rate. Home equity loans come in two types: closed end and open end. Both are usually referred to as second mortgages, because they are secured against the value of the property, just like a traditional mortgage.

Home Equity and Refinancing
Home Buying

Can you get a home equity line without bank charges?

Often this is easiest if you go to the bank or credit union where you have your mortgage. You can check with others, but there may be an application fee as well as costs for the appraisal, depending on the amount of the loan you are seeking.

Home Buying

What size septic tank for 5 bedroom home?

A soils test should be done first to determine drainfield characteristics/size. A general rule is to have 300-500 gal (1.1-1.9 m^3) plus at least 30 gal (0.1 m^3) of storage per person served over 5 by the tank (this general rule is from the Civil Engineering Reference Manual for the PE Exam, Tenth Edition. However, minimum size of septic tanks are usually 1,000 gal and your locality may have more stringent specifications. I am the President/Owner of McKeon Engineering & Associates, LLC. Please visit www.mckeonengineering.com for more information.


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