Housing

Adventures in Homeownership: 7 Months and Counting

So, we’re seven months into homeownership and still enjoying it. We’ve learned quite a few more lessons about owning and maintaining a home. And, of course, we learned them the hard way. Always Double-Check the Paint Before Starting On President’s Day weekend, I decided to paint the hallways between two of the bedrooms. It’s a fairly small hallway, and between all the doors and closets, I figured I had just…
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Reader Question: Furnished Rentals

This question comes to me from a reader: “I’ve lived in a furnished home for 5 years. I’ve paid over $150,000.00 in rent. The home owner want me to pay for the Living Rm, Dining Rm and 2 Bedroom Set. Should I have to replace these furnishings?” My first response was: heck, no. Then I thought about a little. My response is still, probably not, but there could be…
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Keep Your Head in a Real Estate Bidding War

“Bidding war?” you may say. “No one gets into bidding wars anymore.” Au contraire. If you’re trying to buy in a real estate market where prices have fallen significantly and the market is loaded with foreclosures and a few traditional sales, any well-priced home in good condition will generate multiple offers and potential bidding war. If you’re bidding in a multiple offer situation, here’s how to keep your…
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How to Use Real Estate Websites to Hone Your Research

If you search for real estate or homes for sale, you’ll find dozens of websites vying for your attention. In my research, I’ve found that I consistently visit just a few of these sites. Here are my favorite research sites, each with a different purpose. Preliminary Real Estate Research I like to use Cyberhomes to do my preliminary real estate research. Although I sort of know the neighborhoods I want…
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How to Request a Property Tax Reassessment

Several counties have begun sending out updated property tax assessments to request declining home values. You probably received notices of increases while property values were rising. Many people don’t know that they have the right to appeal the assessed amount if they feel it’s not right. If you’re successful, you could save thousands of dollars, but there are risks, too. How Property Tax Reassessment Works It partially depends…
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Should You Use a Mortgage Broker?

Mortgage brokers have gotten a bad rap in the last year. Unfortunately, many unscrupulous brokers steered borrowers into expensive loans with large kickbacks and helped fuel the current crisis by failing to properly disclose all information. Fortunately, most of them are now out of business. The brokers who remain are usually reputable people who are interested in helping borrowers find appropriate and affordable loans. Why Should You Use…
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Understanding Mortgage Points

Mortgage points come in two very different categories. The first is the origination point, the second is the discount point. When applying for a mortgage, you need to know which you’re paying because they could impact not only your interest rate but your taxes. Both are a part of the closing costs, not reoccurring costs over the life of the loan. Mortgage Points Definitions Origination Points:  If the…
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Homeownership: A Year in Review

So, my vacation happened to coincide with the one-year anniversary of buying my house. It’s been quite a year. Here’s a quick review of my first year: Boxes Moved: 80 Rooms painted: 9 Rooms left to plant: 1 Ceilings painted: 2 Ceilings I will paint in the future: 0 Thanksgivings Hosted: 1 (my first) Refinances: 2 Husband’s surgeries: 2 Employer reorganizations: 1 Pieces of furniture bought: 17 Pieces…
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How the Mortgage Pre-Approval Process Works

If you’re looking for a home, the first thing you should do is get pre-approved for a mortgage. You could opt for a pre-qualification letter, which won’t require anyone to pull your credit, but we found that we pre-qualified for a much higher mortgage than we actually qualified for with a pre-approval. In addition, most sellers want to see a pre-approval letter before considering an offer. What Is…
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The Eternal Homebuyer Debate: Condo vs. House

As you know, my husband and I are tentatively househunting. I say tentatively because we’re not sure when exactly we want to buy. We don’t yet have a real estate agent, but we do have a loan estimate. We also have a dealbreaker list and some neighborhoods we’re interested in. There’s just one major question left to answer: condo vs. house. We’ve been back and forth on the question. I want…
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