Home Buying

5 Decisions to Make Before You Move

As we inch closer to closing on our house, I’m working down our checklist of minor decisions to make. If you’re planning to move into a house here are a few things to consider in advance. If you’re recently moved, please share your wisdom! DirecTV or Cable? The house we bought has DirecTV dishes already installed, so now we’re trying to decide between DirecTV or simply transferring our…
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Signs You Have a Good Real Estate Agent

If you don’t have a good real estate agent, your search could take longer and be more frustrating. In some ways, a bad real estate agent could be worse than no agent. If you’re feeling iffy about your agent, compare his or her performance to this list of good agent qualities. Note, this is for buyers only. I’ve never sold a home, so I can’t comment on that.…
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Homebuyer Tax Credit Extended and Expanded

Congress passed legislation expanding and extending the homebuyer tax credit. The President is expected to sign it November 6, 2009. Here’s an update on how the credit works and how you can take advantage of it if you haven’t already bought a home. Homebuyer Tax Credit Extension The original First-Time Buyer Tax Credit was set to expire November 30, 2009, which meant the sale had to close by that date.…
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How Buying a House on the Wrong Side of the Street Cost Me $5500

Already I have an update on our adventure in homeownership, and it’s only getting worse. The problem: the City of Los Angeles is broke and always has been. They can’t afford to maintain the things they’re responsible for, and now it’s costing me $5500. Sadly, if I’d bought a house across the street, I wouldn’t have this problem. City Trees = Homeowner Headaches When we bought our house, we…
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My Long and Winding Road to Homeownership, Part 1

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, then you know that I’ve been looking for a home. I’m not yet officially a homeowner, but I signed my life away yesterday, so it’s time to share the long and sometimes torturous story of how that happened. Deciding to Become a Homeowner My husband and I thought it would be a long time before we could…
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How to Find and Hire a Real Estate Agent

If you’re getting ready to buy a home, then you’re most likely looking for a real estate agent. Some people use sites like Redfin to look for homes themselves, but I prefer to use an agent who can guide me to the right home and help me work through all the fine points of the deal. Finding real estate agents is easy. This is how to find a…
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My Tale of First-Time Homebuyer Panic

In my head, I’m ready to buy a home. I’ve done some research, I’ve even blogged about it. I’ve made my list of dealbreakers. I’ve attended open houses. But now I’ve reached the stage where it’s time to get real and I find myself filled with fear. The whole process is just so intimidating. It’s not about home prices falling, oddly enough. I’ve made my peace with that.…
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Refi #2 – Am I Crazy?

Crazy like a fox! Yes, just one year after closing on my original purchase, I’ve refinanced my mortgage twice. It cost me nothing but a little bit of time and paper, but the combined refinances will save us $160 a month on the mortgage. Over ten years, that’s a whopping $15,000! How I Got Two No-Cost Refis in Six Months I have a mortgage broker friend. He emailed…
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What is rental verification? 2 female in a meeting

Mortgage Stumbling Block: Rent Verification

What is a rental verification form and why do you sometimes need it for verification? Why do they even need rental verification? Well, it seems like a simple request. The bank will contact your landlord to confirm that you’ve paid your rent on time for the last 12 months. If you have a reliable landlord, a simple phone call is all it takes. If you have an idiot…
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