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Where Does the Money Come From for Mortgage Loans?

In the olden days, when someone wanted a home loan they walked downtown to the neighborhood bank or savings & loan. If the bank had extra funds lying around and considered you a good credit risk, they would lend you the money from their own funds. It doesn’t generally work like that anymore. Most of […]

Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning is a serious problem that can lead to adverse health problems. In children, high levels of lead can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, behavioral and learning problems, slow growth, and hearing problems. In adults, lead poisoning can cause reproductive problems, high blood pressure, digestive problems, nerve disorder, memory and concentration […]

Plan of Action

Analyze why you are selling – If you understand your motives, you will be able to better negotiate and to get what it is that you want, whether it be a quick sale, high price, or somewhere in the middle. Prepare your home for the buyer – Maximize the strengths of your property and fix up its […]

Is Buying a Home Still a Smart Plan

With the burst of the housing bubble, credit crisis, and millions of foreclosures across the country, you may wonder if buying a home is such a good idea after all. However, it’s important to consider all of the facts. The important message to take away from these events is not that buying a home is […]

The Biweekly Mortgage – Who Needs It?

Have you received an advertisement offering to save you thousands of dollars on your thirty-year mortgage and cut years off your payments? With email spam becoming more pervasive as everyone tries to get rich quick on the Internet, these ads are popping up with troublesome regularity. The ads promote a Biweekly Mortgage and for the […]

Title Insurance When Refinancing Your Loan

Lower interest rates have motivated you to refinance your home loan. The lower rate may save you a tremendous amount of money over the life of the loan, but you should also expect to pay the lender the typical closing costs associated with any new loan, including service fees, points, title insurance protection and other […]

Underground Heating Oil Tanks

Underground heating oil tanks can pose many potential problems to both home buyers and sellers. They have been the source of many environmental problems such as contamination of surrounding soil and ground water. Leaks are generally caused by the rust inside underground tanks or by an electrical condition sparked by electric utility lines. Buyers should […]

For Sale By Owner – A Good Idea?

FSBO (pronounced fizz-bo), or For Sale By Owner, is a way of selling your home without the use of a professional real estate agent or broker. The idea behind FSBO is that by selling your home yourself, you save the approximate 6% that would be the agents’ commission. 6% may not sound like a lot, […]

Hot, Normal, and Cold Markets

Hot Market This is an extremely competitive market and is advantageous to the seller. Sometimes, homes will sell as soon as they are listed or even before homes are listed. Typically, during a hot market, multiple offers will be made on each home and more often than not, homes will sell for more than the […]

Land Contract

An alternative to a non-conforming loan is the use of a land contract, which is allowed in some states. A land contract is an agreement between a buyer and a seller, where the buyer agrees to make periodic payments to the seller. The title to the property only transfers to the land contract buyer on […]

Title Insurance Requirements for Insuring Trusts

In today’s world of busy probate courts and exorbitant death taxes, the living trust has become a common manner of holding title to real property. The following may help you understand a few of the requirements of the title insurance industry if title to property is conveyed to the trustee of a living trust. What […]

Living Trusts

Estate planners often recommend Living Trusts as a viable option when contemplating the manner in which to hold title to real property. When a property is held in a Living Trust, title companies have particular requirements to facilitate the transaction. While not comprehensive, answers to many commonly asked questions are below. If you have questions […]

Insist on a Home Inspection

A professional home inspection protects both you and the buyer. It allows both you and the buyer the opportunity to learn about the property’s defects. A home inspection usually covers the following: Plumbing conditions – if there is leakage or clogging Roofing conditions – the extent of deterioration, if there is leakage Electrical conditions – […]

Avoiding Financial Stress

By asking the right questions, and knowing exactly what your needs are, you can find the right loan for you. There are certain approaches that you can take while mortgage shopping that can cost or save you money. It is still true that the better qualifications you have, the lower your interest rate will be. […]

The No-Cost Thirty Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

There really is no such thing as a no-cost mortgage loan. There are always costs, such as appraisal fees, escrow fees, title insurance fees, document fees, processing fees, flood certification fees, recording fees, notary fees, tax service fees, wire fees, and so on, depending on whether the loan is a purchase or a refinance. The […]

Title Insurance – Where Does Your Dollar Go?

Title Insurance: As a homebuyer, the term is probably familiar – but is it understood? What is your dollar actually paying for when you purchase a title policy? Title Insurers, unlike property or casualty insurance companies, operate under the theory of risk elimination. Title companies spend a high percentage of their operating income each year […]

Environmental Issues

When purchasing a piece of property, it is important to be aware of any environmental liabilities associated with it. For example, you should find out if there are any registered underground tanks within several miles of the property, known contaminated properties in the neighborhood, or property owners who have been fined by the government for […]

Finding the Right Agent

Not all agents work the same way. The most important attribute of an agent is that he/she is well connected to the real estate industry. He/she should know the market and provide information on past sales, current listings, his or her marketing plan, and at least 4 solid references. In addition, you also want to […]

Finding the Right Seller

The best seller is one who is highly motivated. A highly motivated seller is more likely to sell at a price that is less than his or her house is actually worth. And it matters that you find out why. Learning the reason why can help you get the price you want and help the […]

Which ARM is the Best Alternative?

How would you like a mortgage loan where you did not have to make the whole payment if you did not want to? Or would you like a loan with an interest rate about 1% below a thirty-year fixed rate mortgage and pay zero points? Or a loan where you did not have to document […]

Understanding Title Insurance

What is title insurance? Newspapers refer to it in the weekly real estate sections and you hear about it in conversations with real estate brokers. If you’ve purchased a home you may be familiar with the benefits of title insurance. However, if this is your first home, you may wonder, “Why do I need yet […]

Condominium and PUD Ownership

Builders, in an effort to combat the dual problem of an increasing population and a declining availability of prime land, are increasingly turning to common interest developments (CIDs) as a means to maximize land use and offer homebuyers convenient, affordable housing. The two most common forms of common interest developments in many states are Condominiums […]

Making a Good First Impression

If you want buyers to be interested in your home, you need to show it in its best light. A good first impression can influence a buyer both emotionally and visually, thus prompting them to make an offer. In addition, what the buyer first sees is what they think of when they consider the asking […]

Use a Buyer’s Agent

It’s important that you choose an experienced agent who is there for you. Your agent should be actively finding you potential homes, keeping you informed of the entire process, negotiating furiously on your behalf, and answering all of your questions with competence and speed. First, find an agent who represents you and not the seller. […]

The Advantages of Different Types of Mortgage Lenders

What kind of lender is best? If you ask a loan officer, “What kind of lender is best?” the answer will be whatever kind of company he works for and he will give you a list of reasons why. If you meet the same loan officer years later, and he works for a different kind […]

Creative Financing

Creative financing: You’ve heard of it, and, as a seller, the idea sounds pretty attractive. But, do you know everything you need to know about carrying back a second; essentially, about becoming a lender? You better know the same things that financial institutions know – you better know about lender’s title insurance. It’s time to […]

Mechanic’s Liens

The Mechanics’ Lien law provides special protection to contractors, subcontractors, laborers and suppliers who furnish labor or materials to repair, remodel or build your home. If any of these people are not paid for the services or materials they have provided, your home may be subject to a mechanics’ lien and eventual sale in a […]

Know Why You are Selling

If you know exactly why you are selling then it is easier for you to follow the right plan of action for getting what you want. If you are a seller who needs to close a sale as quickly as possible, then you should know that getting the highest price possible is not one of […]

Why You Should Not Make Any Major Credit Purchases

Don’t go on a spending spree using credit if you are thinking about buying a home, or in the process of buying a new home. Your mortgage pre-approval is subject to a final evaluation of your financial situation. Every $100 you pay per month on a credit payment could cost you about $10,000 in home […]

WHAT’S A FICO®?

What is a FICO® Score? FICO® stands for Fair Isaac & Company and is the name for the most well known credit scoring system, used by Experian. The credit bureau’s computer evaluates a complete credit profile and assigns a score, which is used to estimate credit worthiness. Each of the three bureaus (Experian, Trans Union, […]

Statements of Information

What’s in a name? When a title company seeks to uncover matters affecting title to real property, the answer is, “Quite a bit.” Statements of Information provide title companies with the information they need to distinguish the buyers and sellers of real property from others with similar names. After identifying the true buyers and sellers, […]

Considering Offers

When reading an offer, keep in mind that you are out to get the best price AND the best terms for you. If you focus solely on the price, you may overlook terms that could be favorable to you as a buyer. Some terms that may work in your favor: higher-than-market-interest in a second mortgage […]

Build a Plan of Action and Get Ready

Buying a home will probably rank as one of the biggest personal investments one can make. Being organized and in control will contribute significantly to getting the best home deal possible with the least amount of stress. It’s important to anticipate the steps required to successfully achieve your housing goal and to build a plan […]

Types of Mortgage Lenders

Mortgage Bankers Mortgage Bankers are lenders that are large enough to originate loans and create pools of loans, which are then sold directly to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, jumbo loan investors, and others. Any company that does this is considered to be a mortgage banker. Some companies don’t sell directly to those major […]

Understanding Preliminary Reports

After months of searching, you’ve finally found it — your perfect dream home. But is it perfect? Will you be purchasing more than just a beautiful home? Will you also be acquiring liens placed on the property by prior owners? Have documents been recorded that will restrict your use of the property? The preliminary report […]

Setting the Price

The price is the first thing buyers notice about your property. If you set your price too high, then the chance of alienating buyers is higher. You want your house to be taken seriously, and the asking price reflects how serious you are about selling your home. Several factors will contribute to your final decision. […]

Your Savings and Down Payment

Your First Step Toward Buying a Home When preparing to buy a home, the first thing many homebuyers do is look at the real estate ads in newspapers, magazines and listings on the Internet. Some potential buyers read how-to articles like this one. The next thing you should do – before you call on an […]

Items You Need When Applying For a Loan

Have These Items Ready When You Apply For a Loan It used to be that lenders mailed out verifications to employers, banks, mortgage companies, and so on, in order to verify the data supplied by borrowers. Nowadays, the interest is often in speed and getting answers quickly so alternate documentation has become more widely used. […]

FICO® Scores and Your Mortgage

Years ago, credit scoring had little to do with mortgage lending. When reviewing the credit worthiness of a borrower, an underwriter would make a subjective decision based on past payment history. Then things changed. Lenders studied the relationship between credit scores and mortgage delinquencies. There was a definite relationship. Almost half of those borrowers with […]

FICO® Score – a Brief Explanation

When you apply for a mortgage loan, you expect your lender to pull a credit report and look at whether you’ve made your payments on time. What you may not expect is that they seem to be more interested in your FICO® score. “What’s a FICO® score?” is a common reaction. Each time your credit […]

Documenting Your Assets – Verifying Your Down Payment

When buying a home, it is not enough to just come up with the money. With the exception of no asset verification loans, lenders want to verify where the money for your new home will be coming from. If you can document that the funds are coming from your personal savings, the lender is more […]

Closing Costs When Buying or Refinancing a Home

This is a detailed summary of costs you may have to pay when you buy or refinance your home. They are listed in the order that they should appear on a Good Faith Estimate you obtain from a mortgage lender. There are two broad categories of closing costs. Non-recurring closing costs are items that are […]

Adjustable Rate Mortgages – The PROS & CONS

Now that you know what an ARM is and how it works, you may be wondering what the advantages and disadvantages are. So let’s explore that issue. Offering adjustable rates allows lenders to transfer part of the interest rate risk from themselves to the borrower. If you get a fixed rate mortgage and the interest […]

Adjustable Rate Mortgages – The Basics

An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) has an interest rate that fluctuates periodically. This is in contrast to a fixed rate mortgage, which always has the same interest rate. Every ARM has basic components: An index A margin Adjustment Period An interest rate cap An initial interest rate The Index An ARM’s interest rate is tied […]

Why Do You Need Title Insurance?

Title Insurance. It’s a term we hear and see frequently – we see reference to it in the Sunday real estate section, in advertisements and in conversations with real estate brokers. If you’ve purchased a home before, you’re probably familiar with the benefits and procedures of title insurance. But if this is your first home, […]

The Functions of an Escrow

Buying or selling a home (or other piece of real property) usually involves the transfer of large sums of money. It is imperative that the transfer of these funds and related documents from one party to another be handled in a neutral, secure and knowledgeable manner. For the protection of buyer, seller and lender, the […]

Required Reporting to the I.R.S.

Sellers of real property will have certain information regarding the sale reported to the Internal Revenue Service. This required reporting is a consequence of the Tax Reform Act of 1986; it is intended to encourage taxpayer compliance and aid in audit and enforcement efforts by the I.R.S. To help you better understand this subject, the […]

Closing and Title Costs

It’s the big day. The day you go to the title or escrow company, sign your name on the dotted line, hand over a check and prepare to take ownership of your new home. It’s also the day that you and the seller will pay “closing” or settlement costs, an accumulation of separate charges paid […]

What is a Short Sale Anyway?

An increase in foreclosure rates will inevitably bring with it an increase in short sales. But what is a short sale? A short sale happens when you sell your house for less than your remaining mortgage balance, the proceeds of which go to the lender and in return the lender forgives the remaining balance. Selling […]

Getting the Highest Price in the Shortest Time

In order to get the highest price in the shortest time, you need to know how to market your home. The better you market your home, the more offers you will get. And the more offers you get, the more choices you have to get the price and terms you want. The most important factor […]

Importance of Inspection

As a buyer, you are entitled to know exactly what you are getting. Don’t take anything for granted, not even what you see or what the seller or listing agent tell you. A professional home inspection is something you MUST do, whether you are buying an existing home or a new one. An inspection is […]

Thinking About Buying a Foreclosure?

With the housing bubble burst and the subprime mortgage crisis, millions of homeowners found themselves unable to make their mortgage payments. Many found themselves owing more on the house than the home was worth. Many just walked away from their homes. As a result of these complicated issues, millions of homes were foreclosed. While this […]

Getting a Legitimate Lender and Getting Pre-Approved

It used to be that buyers could go house shopping and when they have found their dream home, then they go to get pre-approved. However, in today’s market, that has proven to be one of the least effective methods in landing the dream home. Most lenders can pre-qualify you for a mortgage over the phone. […]