What if My Offer to Buy a Home is Rejected?

If your offer to buy a home is rejected, you need to consider how much you really want the home and how much more money you may be able to afford to offer for it.

There is no “formula” for how much to offer for a home. Every real estate transaction is different; every seller and buyer are unique. Offers should fit the particular situation. Read More

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Why Pay Points on a Mortgage?

When you take out a mortgage, you can lower the interest rate on the loan by purchasing points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the loan value. So, for example, on a $200,000 mortgage, 1 point would cost you $2,000, 2 points $4,000. Generally speaking, each point you pay upfront will decrease your interest rate over the life of the loan by about one-quarter of one percent. Read More

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How to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

Paying extra on principle, over and above your monthly mortgage payment, can shorten the term of your mortgage and save you potentially tens of thousands of dollars in interest.

One popular way to do this is to set up a biweekly mortgage payment schedule. Instead of paying your mortgage payment once a month, you pay half your payment every 2 weeks. By doing so, you end up making 26 half payments or 13 full payments a year instead of 12, which is what you would make normally. Read More

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5 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Are you a first time homebuyer eager to get into the home of your dreams? Here are 5 tips to help you make your dream become a reality.

1. Save aggressively for a down payment. Many first time homebuyers seek a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). FHA requires as little as three percent down. But if you do not meet the income and sales price criteria for an FHA-backed loan, you will have to seek a conventional mortgage. To qualify for a conventional loan, most lenders will require you to put down anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the sales price. So get saving! Read More

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How Lenders Determine the Value of a Home

When borrowing for a home purchase, to refinance a mortgage or a when applying for a home equity loan, lenders determine the property’s value through a process called an appraisal. An appraisal is an estimate of a home’s value. To ensure objectivity, the appraisal is done by a third party. The lender requires the borrower to get an appraisal to make sure the value of the home will support the loan. Although the lender requires the appraisal, the borrower often must pay for it. Appraisals usually cost somewhere between $200 and $400. Read More

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Should I have an “Open House”?

Before the rise of the Internet, hosting an Open House was one of the primary ways sellers presented their home to the public. An Open House was a great vehicle for showcasing a home with a minimum of inconvenience to a wide range of potential buyers.
Looking for a new home has now largely been taken over by the Internet. Read More

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Keeping Good Financial Records is a Must

Today, many people conduct their financial lives online. If you like the convenience of direct deposit, online banking, or electronic tax filing, much of your financial history is stored online. But when it comes time to applying for a mortgage, the lender will want to see a paper trail that documents all of these activities, plus your income, debts and assets.
Here is a checklist of the documents you will need: Read More

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Is a Home Inspection Really Important?

When you sign a contract to buy a home, whether it is a newly constructed home or a pre-existing home, the contract should contain a “satisfactory home inspection” contingency. A contingency gives the buyer the right to cancel the contract without penalty (i.e. get your deposit money back in full) if a particular condition of the contract is not met to your satisfaction.

There are generally two types of outcomes that can arise from a home inspection contingency: Read More

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The Most Valuable Home Improvements

There are upgrades that increase the value of your home, and then there are improvements that increase the chances of selling your home. Paint, for example, will not increase the value of your home, but will greatly increase its curb appeal and ultimately, its salability. (But when you paint, choose neutral colors – nothing too outrageous.) Fixing cracked sidewalks, rickety steps and railings falls into the same category of improving your home’s curb appeal, if not its overall market value. Read More

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The Tax Advantages of Home Ownership

There are several tax advantages to owning a home. For most people, the biggest tax break will be the mortgage interest tax deduction.

As a home owner, you will be able to deduct mortgage interest (which is going to be most of your monthly mortgage payment initially) on your federal tax return. You can also deduct any points paid and the interest on a home equity loan or line of credit or second mortgage. Read More

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