How Borrowers can Avoid Rejections from Lenders: Meeting the Criteria set by Mortgage Lenders to Obtain a Home Loan

All financial institutions have their own set of lending policies when assessing home loans. Borrowers should research the criteria under which mortgage lenders assess lending applications. A simple way to do this would be to consult a professional mortgage broker who will have the necessary information easily available. However, the borrower can also do his or her own research on a lender by lender basis either via the websites or direct contact with the lenders.

The main criteria that the lenders look for and how to meet the requirements are given below.

Mortgage Lenders Look for Genuine Savings

Lenders require the borrower to save a portion of the deposit for a home. This can vary but in general is either 5% or 10% plus fees. For example, in Australia, to buy a house for $400,000; a borrower will need to have savings of $20,000 (5%) or $40,000 (10%) plus the fees as set by the different states.

In addition, the amount has to be saved over a period of time- usually at least three months- and documented proof will be required.

Therefore, borrowers should ensure that they have a separate savings account into which they deposit funds regularly.

Stability of Employment

The borrower’s employment record is an important factor when assessing serviceability, ie., capacity to repay the loan. Being in the same job for at least six months and having completed the period of probation is a minimum requirement with most lenders.

If a borrower is thinking of changing jobs, then they should either purchase the property prior to leaving the current employment or wait till they are settled in the new job for at least six months before applying for finance.

Suitability of the Property Being Purchased

Some Lenders have policies covering the size of the complex in which the security property is situated. For instance, an apartment in a complex of over 50 apartments may not be considered suitable at a five or ten percent deposit. It may be possible to get a home loan on this type of apartment if the borrower has 50% of the purchase price as a deposit.

Before making an offer on a property, borrowers should ascertain the criteria under which lenders will consider the particular type of apartment or unit.

Borrower’s Credit File

A negative credit file is something that most lenders will not overlook. The default listed on the credit file could be something as simple as an overlooked telecommunication bill. However, lenders take a very serious view of unpaid bills, however small or insignificant they may appear.

Borrowers should be meticulous in maintaining their credit file in good order by paying all bills when they fall due. If a bill was not paid on the date due because of a dispute, as soon as the dispute is settled and the bill is paid, the borrower should contact the credit reporting company to ascertain that a default is not listed against his or her name. Some companies are quick to list defaults as soon as it happens irrespective of the reason for the non-payment.

Lack of Up-to-Date Documents

Financial institutions need documents to check the accuracy of the information provided in the application form. Pay slips, bank statements, existing loan statements and any other documents that provide confirmation of the income and liability status of the borrowers should be kept for this purpose.

A simple file in which all statements are kept will help when making an application and the borrower has to provide documents covering a period of three to six months.

Researching and planning to meet the lending criteria of the mortgage lenders will help to eliminate the rejection of the home loan application when a suitable property is located and an offer is made.

Insurance For Gas Boiler Breakdown: The Best Breakdown Cover to Pay For Central Heating Boiler Repairs

The question of whether to buy annual boiler breakdown insurance is about guessing and gambling with the following variables:

  • What are the chances that the boiler will breakdown this year?
  • How much will the repair cost?

How Much Will It Cost to Repair a Boiler?

According to an article by Emma Lunn in The Saturday Times (U.K. 24/11/07) 1 in 3 boilers breakdown within 6 years and the average repair bill is £470. The article went on to state that insurance plans cost between £7 to £20. Payments made to the cheapest plan over the course of 6 years, therefore, will be slightly more than the average cost of repair and most boilers will not need a repair at all.

Which, the U.K. consumer magazine, printed similar results based on a survey of its readers. Paying breakdown cover would, on average, cost more than simply pay for the repairs.

Is Boiler Breakdown Insurance Too Expensive?

It would seem that insurance companies make plenty of profit whilst gullible people buy expensive breakdown cover. In a perfect world every homeowner would put aside £15 or so each month to cover boiler repairs and to save for the inevitable boiler replacement. There would be no need for insurance because the money saved would cover the bills. Looking at average statistics does not reflect reality in many cases, and breakdown cover could be perfect for many people.

Benefits of Breakdown Cover for Gas Central Heating

The level of insurance cover will be very different for different policies, they will not all offer the same benefits, however, are a number of scenarios which should be considered by the home owner or landlord.

  • A major boiler repair might occur before enough of the money way saved to cover it.
  • There may be many expensive repairs bills over the years.
  • Some boilers will need to be replaced when out of warranty, but prematurely (life expectancy is 12 to 15 years).
  • Boiler faults may occur out of normal working hours, at night or over the weekend or Christmas holiday period, therefore, the engineer callout charge might be higher than the average.
  • Many families will not put aside the £15 each month but would also struggle to pay unexpected repair bills.

Who Should Buy Gas Boiler Insurance?

Insurance cover is not suitable for everyone. A new boiler will be covered by a manufacturers warranty, these can be up to 5 or 10 years as standard on certain parts of the appliance. A two year warranty is common.

It is probably ideal for:

  • Someone who can afford to pay a small monthly sum but would struggle to pay a major and unexpected repair bill;
  • Those with an older boiler;
  • A landlord who wants piece of mind and an easy life, so that the tenants can make arrangements for repairs directly.

Saving Money on Heating Breakdown Cover

Two things to look out for when comparing central heating insurance quotations:

  • A boiler should be serviced annually (manufacturers guidelines), does the insurance fee include a boiler service or is the home owner required to pay for one separately?

Can the cost of insurance be reduced by combining it with other insurance such as the household buildings and contents insurance?

Fixed Rate Mortgages vs. Tracker Mortgages: Changing Mortgages and Securing the Best Mortgage Rate

Fixed rate mortgages and tracker mortgages are the most popular mortgages on the market. Whilst all borrowers seek the best mortgage rate, there is still a lot of guesswork involved regarding which one is right. If economists can’t agree on the direction of interest rates, what chance does a layman have?

Are Fixed Rate Mortgages or Tracker Mortgages More Popular?

Fixing a mortgage rate at a high level can be frustrating when interest rates start to come down. Similarly, tracker mortgages can prove expensive when interest rates start to climb to combat inflationary pressure. Which mortgage type is preferred by borrowers?

Data provided by the Council of Mortgage Lenders shows that fixed rate mortgages account for 70% of all mortgages taken out in Britain. This shows that the majority of people prefer certainty. Fixed rate mortgages remained more popular than tracker mortgages even when it was clear that interest rates were coming down.

Why Choose Fixed Rate Mortgages?

The world is an uncertain place and increasing numbers of people don’t wish to gamble with their finances. Fixed rate mortgages help alleviate market uncertainty by ensuring that borrowers pay a set amount each month, regardless of Bank of England base rate changes.

Fixed rate mortgages allow easier budgeting and help those of a nervous disposition. If on a fixed income, being able to successfully plan ahead can provide peace of mind. Restrictions on overtime and second jobs being so hard to come by add further validity to taking the safe option.

Those taking out fixed rate mortgages are also more likely to take out mortgage insurance. In the event of ill health or involuntary redundancy, mortgage insurance helps with payments for a period of between 12 and 24 months.

Why Choose Tracker Mortgages?

A tracker mortgage is the best mortgage for borrowers when it is believed that interest rates are likely to be reduced. It allows borrowers to benefit from Bank of England base rate reductions, leaving more money for other monthly expenses.

Unless a discounted base rate tracker is taken out, it is normally possible to switch to an alternative mortgage deal without paying a hefty redemption penalty. This means that borrowers can easily switch to fixed rate mortgages should the interest rate tide turn for the worse.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing the best mortgage product. Always seek mortgage advice before opting for a mortgage lender or product as quality advice can help to keep monthly mortgage payments to a minimum.

Applying for Your Mortgage: Where You Begin Your Application Is Important

Banks are often limited with the types of loans they can originate. But their fees and closing costs are usually the lowest. Mortgage lenders sometimes have regional retail offices. They do have a variety of home loan programs that exceed what most banks can deliver. A mortgage broker can shop a lot for you if that broker is connected to enough different lenders.

Banks and Loan Officers

Banking at one bank for a while is no guarantee of your getting special treatment. When it comes to mortgages, banks have to comply with mortgage secondary market guidelines. If you go that route because you are confident of your credit and income credentials, check with that bank to determine if they have at least an FHA program available. Otherwise you will be forced into a large down payment unless you pay high monthly PMI payments.

Mortgage Lenders

Some mortgage lenders have small local retail offices. Country Wide, Bank One, Wells Fargo, and others have a variety of deals available, including government guaranteed VA and FHA loans. However, they do not have many locations outside of larger metropolitan areas. Avoid S & L’s that don’t offer government home loans as well as any office that cannot offer a wide variety of mortgage programs.

Mortgage Brokers

An experienced mortgage broker can help you present the best possible profile to a lender. The application process is through the broker. That broker can shop your one application file to many lenders simultaneously. So if one lender doesn’t approve your application according to your wants and needs, you won’t have to start the application process all over again with another lender.

A good mortgage broker acts as a consultant for you. He or she is not an employee of any bank or mortgage lender. Mortgage brokers are independently contracted with several lenders. Your task is to make sure that broker has lots of horses, including government guaranteed loans, in the stable! While you’re at it, go over fees and how he or she gets paid.

An experienced mortgage broker working out of home or independently from a small office could be a good choice, if that broker has several lending options. That person gets a larger percentage of the commission, or all of it, for your loan. By not sharing with “the house”, he or she can charge less and still get paid well.

Application Basics

Part of the application file, that contains several papers for you to sign, is the GFE, or good faith estimate. Make sure you get one. It is an estimate of your fees. It is not final. If you are applying for more than one type of loan from a mortgage broker, ask for one on each type. Government guaranteed loans, VA, FHA, and USDA, have additional documents for the application file, and GFE amounts will be different. Many mortgage brokers do VA and FHA loans now. But few know about USDA.

Make sure you have copies of two years worth of income documentation for the application. There will be other items needed from you, and the loan originator will let you know about them. You can be candid with most mortgage brokers. An independent mortgage broker knows what can be done to get your loan approved. Consumers can’t keep up with constantly changing loan guidelines.

In any case, don’t take an application home to fill out on your own. Let a professional who knows the procedural details help you with that. Cooperate quickly with whomever is taking your documented information. Mortgage application files cannot be reviewed for approval until they are complete.

A Guide to Hurricane, Windstorm and Flood Insurance

Homeowner’s Insurance May Exclude Hurricane, Windstorm and Flood Damage

It isn’t enough to assume that a homeowner’s insurance policy gives automatic coverage against hurricane, windstorm and flood damage. Most regular policies, for example, will exclude flood and storm surge damage completely and this may need to be purchased separately through the National Flood Insurance Program. Some policies may also exclude hurricane and wind damage.

Any coverage that is given for hurricane and wind damage also needs to be checked to make sure that properties and home contents are protected. Those with an older policy that have remodelled or added to their homes may need to make sure that they have enough coverage to meet any increased value. Keep in mind that it is not the value of the property that matters here but the rebuild cost.

Hurricane and Windstorm Deductibles May Cost More

Regular homeowner’s insurance policies come with deductibles. This is the money that the homeowner has to pay for a claim before the insurance company takes over. Regular deductibles are usually based on dollar amounts (i.e. $500) but hurricane and wind damage deductibles are now generally based on percentages.

According to the Insurance Information Institute this can range from 1-5% of the insured value of the property but may be increased in high-risk areas. Those at risk of hurricance or windstorm damage may find it useful to save to meet this cost in the event that they have to claim. Some insurance companies will still allow dollar deductibles but taking this option may incur higher premium costs.

Wind Mitigation Certificates Could Give Cheaper Insurance Costs

Homeowners that have taken steps to protect their properties against wind damage or those that are willing to do so may find it useful to get wind mitigation certification. Having a formal inspection of a home and an assessment of measures taken to minimize wind damage could lead to discounts on insurance costs. Some companies may also add a surcharge to premiums if no certificate is available.

Additional Living Expenses (ALE) Coverage May be Useful

People that suffer from wind or flood damage may have to vacate their homes while it is fixed. If they have Additional Living Expenses (ALE) coverage in place then their expenses may be met. If they don’t, then they will have to meet costs out of their own pockets. This benefit is not automatically included in every policy and, if not, it may be worth buying separately.

Keep in mind that hurricane, windstorm and flood insurance needs to purchased in advance of potential problems. Some policies will also have a waiting period before coverage will start..

Rent Your Home: Smart Tips to Find the Ideal Tenant

With record-low interests rate, the idea of owning rental real estate seems like a no-brainer. Buy a property in a favourable location, and rely on renters to pay your morgage. If you buy several properties, being a landlord can become your full-time job. Yet like any job, you need to research what it takes to be a landlord.

Each landlord should be familiar with their province’s landlord and tenant’s law. Realize that most tenancy’s acts favour the tenant. That’s why its important to find the right tenant to avoid all the headaches and stress of a tenant from hell. It’s also important to have enough cash flow to cover your mortage if you have vacancies, special levies, or any necessary repairs.

Finding a Tenant

First set your rental price by reviewing the competition through Craiglist and newspaper ads. To make your Craiglist’s ad stand-out from the crowd, make it readable by spacing short paragraphs. Jazz up the caption with adjectives, such as beautiful, quiet and spacious.

It’s also important to refresh your Craiglist’s ad every couple of days by deleting it and positing it again. With this tip, your ad will remain at the top. And include good quality pictures with your ad. You have three chances to screen a prospective tenant: the phone-call interview, the in-person interview, and the background checks.

The Phone-call Interview

Have a list of prepared questions for your phone-call interview. These may include:

How long have you lived in your current residence?

  • Why do you want to move?
  • How close is your workplace to this location?
  • What do you do for work?
  • How long is your desired tenancy, and why?
  • How many people will be on the lease agreement?
  • Will you need a space for your car, or storage for a bicycle?
  • Do you have a pet?

And instead of asking whether or not they smoke, try this trick: mention that they can smoke. Based on your conversation, you will be able to determine if you would like to meet them in person.

Record the name, phone-number and time of the showing.

Showing Your Apartment

  • For safety reasons bring someone with you to show your apartment or have someone you can check in with. Line up prospective tenants, so they know other people are interested in your property.
  • During this time, you can confirm the details from your previous phone conversation. Does their story deviate?
  • Were they on time? Are they well-groomed? Appearances are important because they can give you a clue as to whether or not they will be tidy tenants. Are they polite? And did they offer you references?
  • Ask them how many properties they’ve looked at, and how long they’ve been searching for a place. What do they like about your place?
  • If they bomb the in-person interview, don’t offer them a tenancy application. If you need an excuse, tell them you may have already found a prospective tenant.

Do Your Homework

  • A fatal landlord mistake is accepting cash from the first person who wants to rent the place. Don’t skip this step! Check their credit, references, and talk to their current landlord and current employer.
  • Confirm their salary on the tenancy application with their employer. Ask if the potential tenant is a reliable employee, and tidy. Would they rent their home to this employee?
  • Ask the landlord if she/he had any problems with them? Did the tenant pay the rent on time, were they any damages to their home?
  • Don’t rely on the phone numbers listed on the application for their employer or landlord. Use the internet to verify the contact numbers.
  • To increase your chances of finding the ideal tenant, have a large pool of tenants to choose from. The ideal tenant may not pick you, or change their mind about renting your property. Don’t stop showing your home after you think you’ve found the perfect tenant.

After Choosing Your Tenant

  • After selecting your tenant, phone the tenant to inform them of your decision. Ask for a damage deposit to secure their tenancy.
  • Arrange a time to meet with them at their current residence to sign the lease agreement. By meeting them, you can view their current surroundings.

Be sure to keep well documented records, about keys given, damage deposit, and an agreement on payment of moving fees. Educate the tenant about relevant bylaws. And good luck!

Steps to Developing a Household Budget

Have you ever wondered where all of your money went? It seems that it doesn’t go very far. It’s almost impossible to save any money for an emergency. It feels as if having extra money to save for a home is not even feasible.

Ever feel like that?

When you set up a budget, you will be amazed at how much extra money you have to save for an emergency fund or maybe for a down payment towards a home.

First Steps to a Budget

The first step in creating your budget takes a few months. Two months at the least. You need this time to record every transaction and expenditure so that you have enough data to analyze.

All you need to complete this first step is a pencil and paper (a small notebook would be ideal.) Carry this notebook with you everywhere or maybe just put it on your nightstand so that every night you make your entries.

What you want to write down is the date, the amount that you spent and what or where you spent it. You don’t have to go into great detail but do put enough detail so that you can decipher what the actual expenditure was once you have enough data (2-3 months.) For instance, you may want to write groceries for your grocery shopping, and utilities, gas, electric, etc. If you happen to be shopping at one of those one stop super stores where you can buy groceries and clothes, shoes or whatever, don’t lump it all together. Break out the groceries and the clothing items. This is very important, as you need to be aware of the things that you are buying.

You may get tired of this first part of the budget process, however, it is the second most important aspect to the budgeting process. Besides, it is good practice for recording all of your transactions in your checkbook  ß–shameless plug!

Analysis of the Data

Once you have done this for at least two months you can then sit down and look at your data. Add up all of the same category items and list all of these categories and totals on a piece of paper. Look at your expenditures….. Look hard. Do you see any areas where there might be some fruitless spending?

Come on! We all do it.

Do you see that lump sum video rental category? Do you see that monthly cable with premium channel rental? Kind of repetitive, don-cha think? Why are you paying for premium movies if you’re not getting what you want anyway? You’re paying double by going and paying more for what you really want? There’s a few dollars back in your pocket if you cut the premium channel and get basic cable. Maybe you want to visit the video store less often. It’s your choice and in your control.

Buying a House to Get out of Debt

Sounds counterintuitive doesn’t it? And yet, 5 years into our mortgage it seems like it might just work. My husband and I, both young urban professionals lived in a small apartment in the ‘Little Italy’ area of Toronto, Canada. We travelled, we ate out, we went to see undiscovered indie bands at local juke joint, Lee’s Palace. For the most part, we enjoyed our rather bohemian existence… until I found out I was pregnant.

This is not remarkable, most couples reevaluate their priorities when unexpectedly expecting. We decided we needed to own a house, we decided we needed to buy a car (local transit just wasn’t going to cut it with a stroller) and essentially, we decided we needed to grow up. With these brave new decisions came the need to reevaluate our finances, and most urgently to get out of debt.

After looking at several semi-detached homes in the neighbourhood at around the 750K mark, we soon realized there was no way we’d be able to purchase anything but a condo in the core. So when my husband’s downtown insurance firm decided not to renew their lease and offered us a handsome compensation package to relocate to the nearby Waterloo region – a smaller, less expensive city – we decided this was our only chance to buy a home.

The Sacrifice

Not to say we didn’t have misgivings. We considered ourselves city folk. We scorned our married friends who moved to the suburbs of nearby Mississauga; middle-class suburban mediocrity – no thanks. It was 2006 and the market was still booming, we had friends who “flipped” houses for a living. We thought we’d buy an older house, fix-it-up make some cash and in 5 years sell it for a sizable profit. Then we would pay off our debt and perhaps have a little equity with which to enter the Toronto market.

So we started to look. We went to the bank I had dealt with since I was a teenager and obtained a cashback (no downpayment) mortgage, at what we know now is a high interest rate. No one told us we should seek out a broker or get a second opinion.

We were very green. We had some choices among a network of small cities in terms of location, Cambridge with its American-style big box stores and outlet shopping. Kitchener –Waterloo with its’ new-fangled, RIM fueled, modernity, but in the end we chose Guelph. We felt it still had an amenable downtown, with a culture that appealed to our indie sensibilities.

We consulted my cousin who was experimenting with real-estate and found an affordable 1940’s bungalow, a fixer-upper, that allowed us to walk to the small downtown. The work was painstaking, we took out a wall, we spent grueling hours removing eight layers of wall-paper, we spackled , we dry-walled, we enlisted my handy father-in-law to demolish and renovate our bathroom. And, to our utter shock made friends and started to fit in.

Reality Sets In

The debt however, was still there. Not to mention that now we had utilities and property taxes that we weren’t used to paying. After talking with other new home buyers we realized the interest rate we were paying was really high, but were still locked-in for 5 years. We watched the bottom fall out of the housing market with trepidation, but luckily the Guelph market seemed fare not to badly compared to some of it’s counterparts[i], and the outlook for 2017 is positive[ii]. We are now in our 5th year here, and the term of our mortgage is about to end. We thought we might actually survive the recession unscathed until my husband was unexpectedly laid-off.

We panicked and thought about selling our house before the mortgage term was out – cutting our losses and heading back to the city. A second look at the penalties we would have to pay, made us decide to wait out the year. But then what?

A lot can happen in 5 years, there is a part of me that has come to appreciate small town living and the sense of community it offers. What surprises me the most is the misconception small-town folk have about the city. First of all, and let me be perfectly clear here – Mississauga is not Toronto. Guelph is really no different than the community I came from in Toronto. For example there’s a farmer’s market on Saturday morning in Guelph but instead of being housed in GoreVale Park, it’s housed in city hall. And instead of there being my favourite Sushi place in my Toronto Neighbourhood there’s one in downtown Guelph, and it’s really good. Your community in Toronto, whether it be the Annex, or Riverdale, or the Junction, becomes your small town. In most respects it was a lateral move.

The Pay-off

The only real difference in quality of living is employment, and that is what will in all likelihood drive will drive us back to Toronto. At least this time we’ll be debt free.

Rent to Own Houses: Selling or Buying a Home With a Lease Purchase Agreement

There are many obstacles that hold people back from buying a house conventially. Some people struggle with saving up enough for a decent down payment. Some people have a struggling financial history with low credit scores or fickle employment records. Others might find that banks favor traditional employment over self-employment, at least for the first couple of years. Home ownership could still be accessible. Choosing a rent to own agreement strikes a comfortable compromise for those ready to settle down in their own place.

Rent to Own Contracts

The rent to own agreement requires two separate contracts. The first contract would be similar to any traditional rental agreement or lease. A monthly price is set, along with the life span of the lease. Rent to own leases will usually last between one to three years, however long the renter feels he needs before he can qualify for a mortgage. Alternative time spans can be worked out between the lessees and the owner.

The second contact is a lease purchase agreement. The lessee and the owner will agree on a price to purchase the house. If the lessee is able to qualify for a mortgage in the span of his lease, he can purchase the house for the agreed upon amount. The seller can not raise this price or sell the house to anyone else, as long as the renter abides by their contract.

There are many other details that can be worked into a rent to own contract. Sometimes the owner will require that a small deposit be made before the renters can move in. This will go towards the down payment on the house when the renter purchases it. If the purchase is not made before the lease ends, the owner keeps the entire deposit. Some rent to own agreements will also section off a portion of the rent to contribute to the renter’s future down payment.

How Rent to Own Housing Benefits the Owner

Property owners who are struggling with selling a home could benefit from rent to own agreements. As with conventional renting, the mortgage will be covered by their renters. Meanwhile, they will still be enjoying the tax benefits from the house. Sellers who choose to rent to own might feel more secure knowing that their renters are in it for the long haul. They will have less worries about their tenants moving on and leaving them in a lurch.

Many rent to own contracts require that the house be sold as is. This means the tenants can not trash the house and then expect the owners to fix their mess before they purchase the house. Sellers typically require that tenants take care of all maintenance and repairs during their stay, relieving owners of one of the most expensive and troublesome parts of renting a home.

Before Signing the Rent to Own Lease

Setting up a meeting with a financial advisor is crucial before signing any contracts. Renting to own might not require that the buyers be qualified for a loan right away, but eventually taking out a mortgage will be inevitable. Finance professionals can review a buyer’s current standing, give individual advice about how to qualify for a loan, and provide steps on what to do next in the journey towards home ownership.

Buying a First Home in the US

The state of the current real estate market has produced numerous changes for those wishing to buy their first home. Mortgage lenders are now often requiring 10-20% down payments before considering lending on a property. While there are some government agencies such as the Veterans Administration (VA) and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) which will enable a first time home buyer to purchase a house with less money down, these agencies have other specific requirements which must be addressed by potential buyers

The most logical first step for a buyer is becoming prequalified with a bank. Many lenders will issue a pre-approval letter to a buyer stating how much money the buyer can reasonably expect to borrow based on a cursory qualification of the buyer’s income and assets. This will give a realistic dollar figure as to where in the real estate market to begin looking. The pre-approval letter can also be a “bargaining tool” to indicate to a seller that a buyer is bona-fide. Buying a Home/U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) … offer lower down payments and a good option for first time home buyers

Going House Shopping

The vast majority of today’s home buyers are beginning their search on the internet. Internet listings include multiple pictures and even virtual tours of the subject properties, enabling a buyer to become familiar with a particular house before ever setting foot in it.

Buyers should have an idea of the style of home they would prefer. Large families might need the extra space offered by a colonial. Older buyers often prefer a ranch to avoid future problems with stairs. While some like the feel of a true antique, others want all of the most modern amenities found in new construction. Condominiums offer the busy person a place to call home without any of the upkeep associated with owning a house.

Neighborhoods Should Be Considered

Buyers with young children often want to be in a quiet area but close to schools. Some prefer a rural setting with privacy while others like the potential comraderie of an established subdivision. There are golfing communities, retirement communities, gated communities, some with recreational facilities such as pools, tennis courts, and club houses. Taking the time to decide what aspects of a future neighborhood matter is an important step in the home buying process, but buyers should be aware that some neighborhoods have associations which charge fees, adding to the overall cost of home ownership.

Selecting a Real Estate AgentIt is important that a buyer find a real estate agent who is a good “match” as far as compatibility. The relationship between the agent and buyer can become very close, and the lines of communication should be open from the very beginning. Buyers should remember that the real estate broker they are working with will be representing them throughout a complicated, and lengthy process from the initial offer to purchase through the actual closing of the property. A broker who is knowledgeable about home market values, neighborhoods, and recent developments and trends is a valuable resource. Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Attorney

Using a Real Estate AttorneyBoth first time home buyers and seasoned property purchasers need to keep in mind that there can be many pitfalls to overcome when purchasing a home. Once it is signed, the Offer to Purchase is a legal document binding Buyer and Seller. In order to protect oneself fully, it is recommended that an attorney specializing in real estate transactions be consulted to help with all documentation. A buyer should be fully aware of exactly what each document means before signing same.

The Home InspectionOnce a property is placed under agreement, a buyer should arrange to have a home inspection performed by a licensed inspector to determine if there are any problems with the subject property. Most home inspectors encourage the buyer to be present for the actual inspection and to accompany the inspector around the property during the process. It is customary for a broker to provide a list of home inspectors available to a buyer.

Home ownership is part of the American dream, but the process involved from start to finish can be stressful. Buyers should never feel reluctant to ask questions or seek advice from more those who have successfully bought a home.