Home Buying & Selling

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How to Decide Whether to Refinance a Fixed-Rate Mortgage

If you have a fixed-rate mortgage and interest rates drop, you may want to refinance the same mortgage loan to reduce your monthly payments. The following table shows monthly payments for 15- and 30-year [more…]

Tax Rules for Selling Your Home

Until recently, if you purchased a home, you were required to keep track of the original cost and the cost of improvements to the home for tax purposes. Then, when you sold the home, if you made a profit [more…]

Buying an Owner-Occupied HUD Home

First-time buyers often finance their homes through the federal government, primarily by way of FHA-insured loans. When the property owner fails to make mortgage payments on the property, FHA initiates [more…]

Investing in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Properties

One of the ways the federal government promotes homeownership is by providing financing through Fannie Mae (FNMA or Federal National Mortgage Association), Ginnie Mae [more…]

Working with a Real Estate Closing Team

Most sellers and buyers think of the agreement as the tricky part of the transaction and the closing as the part they can take pretty much for granted. Agents know otherwise. As an agent, your work isn't [more…]

Considering Disadvantages to Paying Cash for Your Second Home

When considering paying cash for your second home, you need to think about more than just whether you have the money to cover all the related costs. You also need to keep in mind long-term tax strategies [more…]

Flipping Strategy: Buying into a Hot Market

When most people think of flipping houses, they immediately envision a process of buying a ramshackle house on the cheap, fixing it up, and then reselling it for more than they've invested in it. That's [more…]

Flipping Houses: Making Money in Any Market

The housing market, like the stock market, fluctuates. Home values can steam ahead, stay put, or spiral down out of control. You make your money when you buy a house at less than market value. By adjusting [more…]

Pinpointing House Flipping Hot Spots

Whether you're an average home buyer or a seasoned real estate investor, every search for the right home begins with a search for the right neighborhood. After all, location is everything. [more…]

Flipping Houses: Lining Up a Home Inspector

Whenever you make an offer on a house, make the offer contingent upon the house passing inspection. Then, have the home professionally inspected. This contingency ensures that you don't get stuck holding [more…]

The Pros and Cons of Owning Your Own Home

If you’re considering buying a house, use the Pros and Cons of Homeownership worksheet provided here to guide your decision as to whether home ownership is right for you. Put a check mark in one box on [more…]

How Much Home Can You Afford?

Just because you qualify for a mortgage doesn’t mean you can actually afford the house; consider how much you can actually pay for a home. It's a good idea to buy something with slightly lower payments [more…]

Choosing between a Fixed- and Adjusted-Rate Mortgage

How do you choose between a fixed-rate mortgage and an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)? Conventional wisdom has been that if you can obtain a fixed-rate mortgage at about 6 percent or less, you should lock [more…]

Choosing the Term of a Fixed-Rate Mortgage

Assume that you plan to stay in your new home indefinitely and are most comfortable selecting a fixed-term mortgage. You may be wondering whether you should take out a 15-, 20-, 30-, or one of those new [more…]

Tips for Comparing Mortgage Lenders

Even if you elect to get quotes from various mortgage providers online, you can also check local mortgage providers. Your local newspaper most likely provides quotes for some of the most competitive mortgage [more…]

How and Why to Get Preapproved for a Mortgage

Before you get serious about making an offer on a new home, obtain from your mortgage lender a prequalification letter at minimum, or better yet, a preapproval letter. A preapproval letter from a lender [more…]

Beginning Your Search for the Right Home

After you have invested time determining the amount of money you can afford to spend on a new home, examining the type of mortgage that may be most appropriate for you, and getting a preapproval letter [more…]

Loan Modification Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Lender

When seeking a loan modification, you first contact your mortgage lender or servicer (who collects and processes your monthly mortgage payments). To increase your chances of modifying your mortgage, ask [more…]

Applying for a Mortgage Loan Modification: Documentation Checklist

If you’re worried about home foreclosure, obtain a loan modification application packet from your mortgage lender and provide everything your lender requests. Most lenders require the following before [more…]

Questions to Ask a Mortgage Loan Modification Expert

When facing home foreclosure, you may want to discuss your options with a loan modification expert. Screen candidates carefully to make sure they have what it takes to successfully modify your mortgage [more…]

Five Traps to Avoid When Modifying Your Mortgage Loan

When your mortgage lender presents an offer in response to your request for a loan modification, step carefully through the minefield to avoid these common traps: [more…]

Loan Modification For Dummies Cheat Sheet

When you receive a home foreclosure notice, your first instinct may be to panic. Instead, take a deep breath and contact your mortgage lender to discuss modifying your loan. Ask for a loan modification [more…]

Teaming Up with an Investor to Stay in Your Home

Real estate investors are sometimes willing to team up with homeowners to help them keep their homes — either permanently or temporarily. Although these investors normally purchase properties with the [more…]

Documenting Your Property's Market Value

Lenders want to know about the market value of a property before approving a loan to purchase the property. The lenders want to make sure that the collateral is sufficient to secure the repayment of the [more…]

How to Prepare a Hardship Letter for a Mortgage Lender

When applying for a home loan modification, a key component of the application is the hardship letter, the homeowners’ description of the financial setbacks they’ve experienced that resulted in their inability [more…]

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