Home Buying

My Moving Checklist and Escrow Checklist

I’m a planner. I love lists. I love checking things off lists. So, the day our offer on a home was accepted, I created this detailed moving checklist. Then my real estate agent emailed me a few more things that I added to the list. Now, at a reader’s request, I’m including my entire moving checklist in the approximate order they happened or needed to happen. This is…
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11 Tips for a Smooth Move

It’s done. The move is over and I’m ensconced in my new house. Every move has its challenges, but ours was relatively smooth. If you’re planning a move, here are my top tips for making sure it goes as smoothly as possible. Start Packing Early We started packing the weekend after our offer was accepted. My first step was to make a list of everything that could be…
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Keeping Your Head During the Real Estate Offer Process

Looking for a home is exhausting, especially in a market like this one. We’ve been hunting since January and only recently made it to the offer stage. I found the process insanely stressful, to the point where I lost sleep, obsessively clicked reload on my email, and hemmed and hawed for days. The Stress of Deciding Whether to Make an Offer There have been a couple of homes where we…
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Bad News for New Homebuyers Filing for the Credit

I just saw the bad news on CNN for new homebuyers like me who want to file for the First Time Homebuyer tax credit. I’m used to filing my taxes online and getting my refund in ten days. This year, I will be stuck waiting for my sizable tax refund for months because I have to file on paper. We tried to avoid this by stopping withholding, but for…
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Is it Time to Get into the Real Estate Market?

Some people are still avoiding the real estate market because they predict yet more steep declines in home prices. Other people have decided that now is a great time to buy. My husband and I have decided to take the leap, but only after making some careful consideration. Here are our reasons for buying our first home. We’re Taking a Huge Tax Hit Right now, we’re being hit…
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Should You Buy a Fixer-Upper?

If you’re in the housing market right now, you have to make a major decision about whether you’re willing to buy fixer-uppers. Due to the foreclosure crisis, there are a lot of homes on the market with half-finished projects, or no upgrades. The previous owners either bought more than they could afford or got started and then ran out of money. How to Get a Feel for Fixers…
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How the 2009 New Homebuyer Tax Credit Works

In addition to the new car tax credit I attempted to explain yesterday, the economic stimulus package also includes a new homebuyer tax credit. The credit has several restrictions, but it could save you a lot of money on your taxes if you haven’t owned a home in the last three years. Here’s how the first-time homebuyer tax credit works. New Homebuyer Tax Credit Eligibility Dates The credit applies to…
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Why is buying a house so stressful? Woman with her hands on her forehead

The Five Most Stressful Parts of Buying a Home

If you'll ask me "why is buying a house so stressful?" Well, before I answer that, recently my doctor advised me to avoid stress. I think that’s a standard line from doctors, even for people like me with no health issues. Nevertheless, I laughed and told her that would be difficult because I’m in escrow. She said that was good stress. From where I sit, it doesn’t feel…
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laptop with coffee, phone and checklist paper on a table

My New Home Checklist – Free Download

When my husband and I started looking for a house, looking at different houses hunting checklists online made me wonder what is still missing in their list. Most of them either had too many details or not enough, so I created my own in Excel. You can download the Home Checklist and print it to help your own home search. House Hunting Checklist made simple Along with this checklist,…
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How the New Home Appraisal Process Works

You’ve probably seen distressing news reports about the failure of the new home appraisal process (called the Home Valuation Code of Conduct) for loans eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It doesn’t apply to FHA loans or jumbo loans. Since the new system went into effect on May 1, 2009 it has sent home appraisals into chaos. Some deals are falling apart, and appraisers, loan…
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