Trouble Pulling the Trigger on Your First Home?

You’ve made up your mind to buy a place of your own. You’ve saved for a down payment and have poured over the local listings for months. Touring open houses is part of your weekend ritual. But months, perhaps years, have passed and you’re still in your rental, no closer to being a homeowner than when you started.

This is not an uncommon scenario. For many first-time homebuyers, pulling the trigger can be a frightening experience. Will you be happy there? Will you like your neighbors? Will you be tied down, house rich and cash poor? What if you lose your job? Will you hate your commute? In short, your fears stem from the unknown.

Conversely, your current home is familiar. You know exactly what to expect. You’ve come to accept its shortcomings whether they are loud neighbors, a leaky ceiling or scant street parking. There are few surprises.


Written By: Melissa Paul. If you would like to continue reading,click here.


Title Insurance: Who Needs It?

During the real estate transaction (especially if you’re a first-time buyer), you’re hit with so many foreign terms, fees and requirements your head spins. One of those strange and unfamiliar costs is title insurance. In most cases, borrowers have no option—either you get title insurance (among other requirements) or you don’t get a loan.

The lender says you need it, you want the loan to go though, so you buy title insurance. Great. So what is title insurance?

When you buy a home you want to make sure that the people selling it actually have full and legal title. The party who conducts closing will check this out by going down to the local property records office to research the history of ownership.


Written By: Courtney Ronan. If you would like to continue reading, click here.

Title Insurance

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln lost his house twice because of cloudy title? It’s true. First American Corporation, which is one of the country’s largest title insurance underwriters, reports about the losses on its website and in a promotional brochure about the dangers of not having a clear title to land.

When it comes time to finish the paperwork for your first piece of real estate (investment or otherwise) you’re going to find out that many trees have lost their lives because of the paper shuffled back and forth to buy, sell, rent, insure, list, survey and record real estate.


Written By: M. Anthony Carr. If you would like to continue reading, click here.

The Hidden Costs of Homeownership

You’ve traded in renting for owning. So now what?
You may be surprised to find out that there is more money involved in owning a house than just taking out a home loan and making your monthly payments.

What you weren’t responsible for as a renter becomes all yours as a homeowner. Property taxes, utilities, home maintenance and repairs, insurance and even decorating in any way you choose are all on you now, for better or worse. And if you live in an association or in other types of communities where special property taxes are assessed, you’ll have to contend with that, too.

Let’s break it down.


Written By: Diana Lundin. If you would like to continue reading,click here.

The art of house hunting

Armed with your down payment and your pre-approval letter for a mortgage loan, the next step is finding the house that will best meet your family’s needs. With realistic expectations, patience and plenty of research, you’ll be well on your way.

Once you narrow the search to neighborhoods you like, you’ll want to determine the maximum house price you can afford. Even though you’re pre-approved for a set loan amount, it doesn’t mean you can afford it. You’ll want to factor in other expenses, including retirement and college savings, vacations, and home maintenance and repairs, when you calculate how much you can afford for a monthly payment. And don’t forget to budget for homeowners insurance and property taxes. There’s also homeowner’s assocation fees, especially in newer developments.


Written By: Michele Dawson. If you would like to continue reading, click here.

The Appraisal Contingency

The appraisal of a property’s value has become a regularly used residual service by homebuyers in the real estate process. However, it can become a tool that is tossed by the wayside in a hot market — and that’s not very wise when it comes to the largest investment most consumers will ever make.

The appraisal serves various purposes in a transaction for several people. It acts as a financial compass, as it were, for everyone that has a monetary stake in the property value — the seller, the buyer, the lender, and the insurance company.


Written By: M. Anthony Carr. If you would like to continue reading, click here.