What You Should Know About Foreclosure Investing

If you are interested in a way to get involved in the real estate industry you should look into foreclosure investing. Many people avoid this type of investing because they are not aware of the details that go along with it. By simply learning about foreclosure investing, you will be able to join this industry in no time at all.

The first thing that you need to know about foreclosure investing is who you will be buying the house from. Foreclosed homes are properties that have been taken over by the bank because the past owner failed to pay his or her mortgage. When this happens, the bank then needs to sell the property back to the public so that they can start to collect a profit again. The longer that the bank sits on a foreclosed home, the more money they are going to lose.

Being that banks are always in a hurry to sell properties back to the public, the buyer definitely has a huge advantage; this is what makes foreclosure investing so profitable for thousands of people ever year.

When you are looking to get into foreclosure investing you should realize that you will be able to find properties that are greatly discounted. It is not uncommon for a buyer to be able to find a property for up to 40% off of the market value cost. By purchasing properties at this price and then selling them back to the public, you can make a lot of money.

Another reason that foreclosure investing is so popular is because there are a lot of these properties to go around. In almost every city in the United States there are foreclosure properties available for purchase. The only thing that you have to do when getting into foreclosure investing is find the homes that you want, and decide how much you are willing to pay for them. This can be done by simply scouring your newspaper, or joining a service that will supply you with homes in your area.

Overall, foreclosure investing is a huge industry at the present time. There are people all over the country that have turned their love of foreclosure investing into a full time job. If you are interested in getting involved with the real estate industry, there is no better way to do it than by investing in foreclosed properties.

When is the Right Time to buy your First Home?

There are many market predictions, however if you want to buy your first home—there is no wrong time.  The motivation to buy is not determined by regional market conditions or by location.  Industry opinions and investor speculation can not predict when a particular individual will be ready to buy.  For the great majority of folks, the most compelling reasons to buy a home are based on individual circumstances and personal needs. 

• Family needs and desires for children/parents/in-laws/couples

• Convenience to home, work, school, social activities 

• Sense of achievement or fulfillment

• Freedom and independence

Even though there are many changes in the market, both up and down—people still need and want to buy homes.  This desire to buy a home is deeply rooted in the fabric of our consciousness.  The value of homeownership gives far more satisfaction than ROI calculators can quantify.

Today, there are many different loan programs with flexible terms to fit all buyers. There are city and county down-payment assistance programs to assist in buying a home.   For future buyers with blemished credit, there are debt reduction and counseling programs to help gain a fresh start.  

How do you make the leap to become a homeowner?  First, determine that you want to buy a home.  Get your finances in order.  Determine your financial situation and check your credit to determine where you fall as a borrower.  Look at all of your available assets for your down payment and examine all of the finance options available to you.  If you have some credit blemishes, take the time to make timely payments to your creditors to present the best financial picture.  Make sure that you have a track record of stability in your employment history.  Postpone any major purchases.  Your actual home purchase may still be 12-18 months down the road, but you can still prepare for it now.

Get pre-approved for your mortgage.  Once you’ve cleared the financial hurdles, talk to your lender or broker to find out how much you can afford to borrow along with the expected out-of-pocket costs you will need to incur for the closing.  This will include the required down payment along with funds for closing costs.  If you are buying in a seller’s market, you may want to search for homes below your approved price range, so that you can have the most room for negotiation.

Find a credible licensed real estate agent.  Look for an agent that can work with you based on YOUR needs and your schedule.  Check references of previous clients.  You may not know exactly what you want in terms of a new home, and your agent should work with you to determine your needs and help you find a property that meets your immediate and future needs.  Check with family and friends for successful agent referrals. Ask them how satisfied they were with his/her services and if they would use them again.

Become an informed and practical buyer.   Once you determine where you would like to live, determine what factors are most important for your family.  Calculate your new commute time and research school information for your children.   Make sure to evaluate the surrounding factors that are most important to you, along with factors that are least important. 

Find a home that works for you.  Envision yourself (along with your family living in the home).  What are the key points of consideration for your home?  If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, then you want to make sure that the kitchen can accommodate your habits. If you will be working from home, make sure that your home office setup will work.  Make sure that all of your telecommunications and electrical needs can be met.   

Make the offer.  Once you have located a property that meets your needs, make an offer based on the listing price, along with comparables information and market considerations.  Your agent can work with you to determine the best price, along with any contingencies for the sale.  

It is good to get a home inspection, so that you can know what the potential pitfalls and future maintenance needs may be.   In a seller’s market, you may find yourself bidding with several other buyers for a single piece of property.  Work with your agent to determine what is customary in your area.  This is when negotiation skills really come in handy!

Once your offer has been accepted, you will enter an escrow period, where all of the title research will be handled, funding requirements met; tax and title transfer paperwork managed.  Prior to the close of escrow, you will sign all of your finance paperwork, and pay your remaining deposit and closing fees.  After funding is complete, the title company will record the new purchase deed with the County Recorder’s office, and you will officially “close”.  

Congratulations! It’s time to move. Make sure to connect your new utilities along with mail forwarding.    The purchase of a home can be a lifelong achievement, but one that is truly a worthy accomplishment.

Property Short Sale and Benefits for All!

As dreams are taking newer turns, so are our efforts to realize them. It is only natural for anyone to dream of a home of one’s own, where one can live with one’s loved ones and cherish all the dreams that one had regarding a home, sweet home. And to acquire this, one can actually do anything starting from laboring day in and day out for paying that sky-high mortgage, even compromising on several aspects of daily life. But what happens when you miss to repay one installment? They threaten your property for real estate foreclosure. However, unlike most things, you have this in your own hands and decide the fate of your own home by being able to avoid foreclosure auction, avoid losing home and short selling your property pre foreclosure.

Why would you do that? Property short sale means selling your property at a value less than what you owe your bank or the lender organization for the mortgage under question, that is, less than the loan balance, which is secured against the property. This way you can save a lot of your money, which otherwise you would have needed to pay the lender along with saving yourself and your loved ones from all the humiliation and embarrassment that facing foreclosure auction generally induces. Some times, you may end up selling your home at a rate higher than what you owe the lender entity, thereby saving some cash for yourself for future reference. This would not have been possible if you would have let the lender take complete charge of your property.

Why would it interest the lender? A very obvious question arises here as to why the lender entity would be interested in such a transaction where it is receiving less than what you owe him. The answer to this is simple, indeed. By compromising on a section of its due balance, the lender entity is basically saving a lot of its expenses that it would have to spend otherwise in conducting a lot of paper works, by carrying out the legal procedures of foreclosure, refurbishing the property, marketing it, finding the suitable investor and so on and so forth. Just the simple organization and execution of the property foreclosure auction could cost the lender as much as $50,000, which is not a sensible investment in the absence of an assured buyer or investor.

The question that follows is why any investor would like to buy a short sale property. The answer to this too is simple enough – a short sale property usually sells at very down to earth prices, which at times can get as low as 60% of the actual worth of the property. Moreover, with the increasing rate of foreclosure and the subsequent rise of property short sale, the real estate industry is booming all over the United States and is showing much promise to interested US and overseas investors. Investors can earn great profits on these short sale properties by buying them from the homeowners at a very humble rate and reselling them in the open market at standard industry rates.

Real Estate Investing: Always Have a Back-up

Over the last two weeks, events have unfolded that have reminded me of an important truism in real estate investing.  

“Always have a back-up!”

This was played out in dramatic form with a deal I’m closing tomorrow.  A wholesaler friend of mine brought me this great little three bedroom one bath home tucked away on a dead end street where pride in ownership is alive and well.  The electric and plumbing is already upgraded and this rehab is cosmetic with the exception of adding a bath.

I’m buying it for $52,500 and the as-repaired appraisal came in at $86,000.  Not a bad spread.  This is the kind of deal I like!

When I called my hard money broker, she was delighted and we moved quickly toward closing.  I was only waiting on the closing time…

That’s when the wheels fell off.

It seems my broker’s money source decided he was only going to invest in property valued at $250,000 or more.  Yikes!

So, I went to back-up hard money broker number 1.  

The broker took his time…about 5 days…to finally tell me that he only wanted to loan about 60% of the as-repair value.  No way.  Not when I can do better (70%) with back-up hard money broker number 2.

Back-up broker number 2 is probably who I should have went with in the first place.  I’ve borrowed from this source before.  It took one phone call, and the money is there and I close in a couple of days.  Wham-bam, the deal is arranged.

It looks like it’s time to shift around the players in my core team a bit.  Back-up number 2 is now my starter.  Back-up number 1 (foot-dragger, doesn’t-loan-the-70%-he-said-he-would) is benched.

I tell this story to illustrate that it’s absolutely CENTRAL to your business to have back-up plans in all aspects of the business.

I strongly recommend having two or three:

 – Hard money brokers

 – Appraisers for quick value assessments

 – Rehab crew leaders

 – Plumbers

 – Electricians

 – Roofers

 – HVAC techs

 – Realtors

In fact, have two or three of any trade or profession lined up, ready to spring into action as a moment’s notice.  Sure, I have my favorites in each of these areas, but I am striving to have 3-deep hot back-ups in each.  Thing happen.  Life happens!  Be prepared for it.

Don’t stop there.  Have back-ups when you rent or sell a property.  A property isn’t rented until the rent and deposit (or lease/option fee) is paid and the keys are in the hands of the new tenant.  So, encourage back-ups until the money is in your hands (in cash). 

I’ve had appointments set up to sign leases, and the potential tenants never show up, no call, and they quit answering their phone.  This is despite being hot for the house an hour earlier!  If you are in this business long, you will learn that people will disappoint you and they will fool you.  So, establish policies and make one of them “it ain’t rented until it’s paid for!”

Encourage back-up offers to purchase.  Deals fall through all the time!  Take as many back-up offers as you can.  

Having back-ups is a mental frame of mind that fits within being a big-picture thinker portion of the Mind of the Real Estate Investor.  In addition, rearranging your core team is thinking big and long term.  It’s a constant process of improvement and adjustment.  This approach is crucial to your business!  Apply this principle and profit!

Real Estate Ownership – Condominium or Fee Simple

Generally, apartment-style buildings are called condos, two-story row houses are known as town homes, and free-standing homes on small lots are referred to as garden homes.  Unfortunately, this description creates some confusion about real estate ownership.  Apartment, town home, and garden home describe the design or construction of certain homes.  The word “condominium” does not refer to a the layout or style of a building.  Condominium is a form of ownership of real estate.  The form of ownership of real estate cannot be recognized by observing the building design.   

Condominium Regime

The legal definition of condominium is:  the absolute ownership of a unit based on a legal description of the airspace the unit actually occupies, plus an undivided interest in the ownership of the common elements, which are owned jointly with the other condominium unit owners.  Each unit owner of a condominium has individual title to the space inside his unit.  The space is sometimes described as beginning with “the paint on the walls.”  In addition, each unit owner has an undivided interest in the physical components of the condominium buildings and land. 

A popular type of condominium development is the multi-story apartment.  In this case, there is no land under each unit.  In these developments, the condo association usually handles maintenance of the building exterior and common grounds, while the unit owners maintain the interiors of their units.  A condominium association is selected to make decisions about expenditures for repairs, and to handle administrative work related to the common areas.  Fees are collected from the unit owners to pay for common maintenance.  The association normally holds an insurance policy covering the jointly-owned areas, while individual owners carry insurance for the interior components of their units.

Condo projects may resemble duplexes, town homes, garden homes, or residences on regular lots.  In general, the creation of a condo regime allows the developer to get more density approved than would be allowed if he had done single-ownership lots.  This is often the reason why the condo regime is chosen instead of a development with single ownership lots.  A condominium may be built as two units of a duplex.  In this case, the two owners may jointly make decisions concerning maintenance of any common areas.  By setting up the units of a duplex as two condos, the owner is able to sell them to two different owners. 

Each condominium has rules that are specific to the development, so no assumptions should be made about their requirements.  It is important to read the condominium documents carefully before purchasing a condo.  The documents specify the maintenance that is covered by the common budget.  In one project, the association may handle exterior components, decks, pools, sidewalks and driveways.  In another, the individual owners may be responsible for more maintenance of their units, including foundations, roofs, and exterior walls.  

If you have questions about the division of labor between the common budget and the individual owners of a condominium, you can present your question to the condo board itself.  The board can give you an interpretation of the rules and clarify how the issue has been handled in the past.  Another possibility is to ask a real estate attorney to review the documents for you.  Realtors, other unit owners, or maintenance workers are not appropriate or reliable sources for the interpretation of condo documents.  

The Texas real estate contract for condominiums contains a provision requiring that the buyer be given a copy of the condo documents, with a period of time to review them.  During the document-review period, the buyer may terminate the contract without penalty.  In addition, a resale certificate is must be provided by the  association president or manager.  This document provides information on the current budgets, insurance coverage, special assessments, lawsuits and other matters that affect the association.  

Fee Simple Ownership

In contrast to the condominium regime, you may own real estate by fee simple.  “Fee”, which comes from the word, “fiefdom”, refers to legal rights in land, and “simple” means unconstrained.  Fee simple is the most common type of ownership.  It is the absolute legal title to real property, including both buildings and land. 

In fee simple, there are several different possibilities with regard to your obligations of ownership:

(a)  Your property may not be in a subdivision at all.  In this case, your deed will not include any subdivision restrictions that control your use of the property.  Be aware that there could be some deed restrictions put in place by previous owners.  In addition to deed restrictions, you may be governed by city or county ordinances or zoning laws that limit your use of the property. 

(b)  Your property may be in a subdivision with very few restrictions, no common areas, no architectural control committee, and no mandatory dues.  Usually these are older subdivisions.  

(c)  Your property may be in a subdivision of homes on large lots, or in a town home or garden-home community in which there is a legally created homeowners association.  In this case, every homeowner is required to be a member of the association.  The association may charge mandatory dues and enforce subdivision rules.  A certain level of maintenance may be required of each property owner.  For example, you may need association approval of exterior paint colors, fences, or additions to your home.         

Like the condominium form of ownership, fee simple ownership does not prescribe how maintenance is handled or how developments are governed.  For example, the owners of a town house, with fee simple ownership, may be required to fully maintain their units.  Or, the owners’ association may cover painting, roofing and yard work for the owners.  In subdivisions where there are single family homes on large lots, it is more common for the homeowners association to manage the common grounds, pools and parks, while the individual lot owners fully maintain their own properties.  

Understand your ownership rights and obligations

Before buying into a condominium regime or purchasing a fee simple property, you should have a clear understanding of the type of ownership you will have in your property.  If you are buying a condominium, it would be wise to read the condo documents carefully and understand how maintenance is divided between the individual owners and the condominium association.  

If your ownership is fee simple, with individual ownership of the land, you should review the deed restrictions (if there are any) and understand the restrictions and obligations that apply to your property.  In the fee simple form of ownership, there may be mandatory dues to pay for common area maintenance, or, in some cases, the dues may be used for partial maintenance of the individual properties.  

If you have a question about your type of ownership or about your obligations as a homeowner, it would be wise to review the title documents with a real estate attorney before proceeding with your purchase.  Ask plenty of questions!  A clear understanding of your type of ownership, and of your obligations as a homeowner will result in a more satisfying real estate purchase.

The First Time Buyer

For years you have been scrimping and saving, preparing for that day when you could purchase your first house. Now, that day has arrived. However, now that it is here, it becomes evident that the process of home buying can be a little overwhelming for a first time buyer. So, what to do? first of all, don’t panic and rush out and put a down payment on the first house you see. This is going to be a big purchase so you will want to plan your steps very carefully. 

1. Get your credit sorted out. Having a good handle on your finances will only make this process easier. It’s great that you have a down payment set aside, but have you secured financing yet? Having financing arranged before you start looking for a home is one of the best moves you can make. However, having financing arranged before you start looking means having the credit to get pre-approved for a mortgage. 

2. Get pre-approved. Being pre-approved for a mortgage allows you to shop worry free and it lets you know ahead of time what you can afford. Having your mortgage pre-approved will also be an attractive asset to realtors and home owners as it shows them that you are a serious customer. 

3. Be Choosy. This will likely be one of the more difficult steps. Buying a home is allot like looking for a rental property but with much more stress and emotion, and a much bigger payoff. If you are not sure what you should be looking for in a home, consult extensively with your realtor and friends that own homes. Start thinking about what you need in a home. What are your requirements in terms of rooms, location, amenities and other such aspects? Making a list is the easiest way to keep track of the necessities. 

4. Get an Inspection. After finding the home that you can see yourself purchasing, have the home inspected. This is a huge step that must be observed. Most people include a subject on the purchase contract that the home must pass an inspection. Never skip this step! There could one of many things wrong with the home you have chosen that the owner may not even know about. Inspections will survey the plumbing & electrical systems in the home as well as the roof and the structure itself. Anything that is amiss can be utilized as a bargaining point in the sale of the home, or if severe enough; can simply be reason to walk away from that particular home.

5. Close. Assuming that everything has gone according to plan you should now merely be concerned with your possession date. The home passed inspection, your offer was accepted, and the deal closed. Congratulations! You have bought your first home!

The Power Of Appreciation

If you truly want to bring into your life everything that you desire, then start with appreciating all that you have now. Here’s how it works – you bring into your life whatever it is that you focus your thoughts upon. So, if you focus on all the lack in your life, you get more lack. But if you focus appreciation on all that you have, you get more of what you want.  

Of course the question is “But how can I appreciate not having something?” The answer is to appreciate the things in your life right now. Enjoy where you are right now. Then think of the things you desire, but look at them with the thrill of expectation. Think of it like this: when you plan a vacation, it’s has not happened yet, but you are filled with excitement anticipating the thrill of all you’ll see and do. You’re not depressed because you are not on vacation now. You know it is coming. 

That’s how the Power of Appreciation works. Appreciate the now, and be thrilled with the anticipation of obtaining all that you desire, and more will come into your life.

Just like your goal is not to complete your vacation – it is to enjoy it. The same is true with all of your desires. You always have new desires. You’ll never fulfill them all, because no sooner is one fulfilled that ten more are born. It’s what keeps you alive. Can you imagine living each day with the thought that you have already fulfilled every desire? That there is nothing else to achieve? Of course not. There would be no purpose to life. So desires are not the lack of something; they are the promise of what is yet to come. How exciting! All that you want – you’ll have. 

Knowing that there is no lack – only desires yet to be fulfilled, you can relax, appreciate, and enjoy all that is already in your life. If you want to be happier, and fulfill your desires even quicker, try this exercise: take a few moments several times a every day to notice and appreciate some of the things in your life that you would miss if they were no longer in your experience. For instance, you might appreciate the home in which you live, the electricity which powers your house, the softness of your bed, the laugh of your loved ones, the sounds around you, the multitude of colors, the smell of Thanksgiving dinner cooking, the PC on which you’re working. When you realize the importance these experiences play in your life, and the void their absence would make, it is easy to feel appreciative of all that you have. 

Don’t mistake that I’m saying settle for what you have. To the contrary, I’m saying enjoy what you have, while fully anticipating the fulfillment of all you desire. The point is to fully appreciate everything you have, which will lead to experiencing everything you want. 

The Unique Appeal of French Creole Homes

French Creole architecture is one of the most prominent building styles of the Old South. This stately form is recognizable on homes of all sizes, and immediately evokes the South’s vibrant past. Although it is called “French” Creole, the style draws from a mix of other cultures, including Spanish, African, and Native American.

The French Creole style is most easily distinguished by generous front porch galleries which usually span the length of the house, fronted by light wooden colonettes. What usually makes a French Creole porch stand out is the fact that the building’s roof extends all the way across the porch, instead of stopping at the edge of the house and then changing its angle slightly to cover the porch. Most French Creole homes are also built up to avoid seasonal river floodwaters and hurricanes – the main rooms in these homes are placed well above grade, while ground level rooms are used for a variety of non-essential purposes – for this reason, French Creole homes are also known as “tidewater” homes. A broad staircase connects upper floor galleries with the ground level, and acts an extension of the main entrance. French Creole homes are also characterized by heavy timber construction, occasionally with an infill of mud or brick. A unique building material, known as bousillage, was also pioneered in the construction of French Creole homes – it was comprised of moss, animal hair, and mud. Many homes in this style were also distinguished by multiple French doors, and extremely steep angle braces.

There are also a variety of commercial and urban interpretations of the French Creole style. French Creole cottages in downtown New Orleans stand flush with the property and generally have no gallery. Townhouses of this style included a low mezzanine-type storage area known as the entresol between the first and second floor, and a wide carriage passage connecting the street to the building’s main courtyard. Many buildings of this type can still be seen in New Orlean’s French Quarter.

French Creole homes originated in New Orleans in the early 1700s, and quickly spread across the south as builders looked for a practical yet attractive style for this region’s humid subtropical climate. “Creole” refers to a people of mixed French and West Indies or Latin American heritage who live in the Gulf of Mexico region. 

Original French Creole homes provide some of the most attractive examples of residential architecture in the South, from small cottages to large plantation estates.

The Value of Construction Inspections

Buyers of re-sale homes almost always have their homes inspected by a professional inspector.  Buyers of new homes, however, often do not take this important step.  There are several reasons for this:

  • The buyer is getting a brand new home, and thinks that the inspection is an unnecessary added cost.  
  • The buyer feels that they are protected by the builder’s one-year warranty for workmanship, plus extended structural warranty.  
  • In many cases, the home is inspected by city inspectors as a part of the permitting process.  
  • Buyers believe that they can rely on the builder’s reputation.  
  • The builder is resistant to idea of third party inspections.  
  • Buyers are not aware that a home inspection is a recommended alternative.
  • The buyer plans to “keep an eye” on the construction.

A Business Relationship

The construction of a home is a big project involving many contractors and suppliers.  As the buyer and homeowner you are the financer and recipient of the final product.  If you are like most people, this is your biggest investment.  Understandably, most people want to establish a good rapport with their builder.  They must rely on the builder throughout the job, and for warranty and service work after completion.  They feel that they need the builder’s friendship and good will, and do not want to risk damaging the relationship.    

You will need to come to terms with this in your own mind.  Do not allow your anxiety about the construction process to obscure the fact that you have a business relationship with your builder.  You are working together under a contract.  It is possible to be cordial and respectful, while maintaining the right to bring up problems and concerns.  It is best to establish the ground rules for your  relationship at the beginning of the project.  At some point, you may need to tell the builder that something is not acceptable to you.  

Schedule Inspections

Let the builder know at the outset that you will be getting a construction inspection.  You may hear (from the builder or others) that this is unnecessary, that city inspections will be done, that this is an unusual step, etc.  Stand your ground on the inspection decision.  After you have let the builder know that you will be getting an inspection, send an email or written note clarifying when your inspections will be done.  Make it clear that you will need to have the utilities connected for your final inspection.  Allow enough time after the final inspection for corrections to be made before closing.  Check with your inspector about which inspections he recommends.  The three that come to mind are:  foundation, pre-sheetrock, and final inspection.   

Foundation Inspection

With some complicated foundations, you should have an engineer review the construction as it progresses.  In other cases, a licensed inspector can do the job.  Usually, city inspectors do a layout inspection, making sure the foundation does not overlap building lines.  Whether or not you are in a city, ask your inspector to double check this.  Ask for a copy of the “forms survey”, if the builder has one.  If a forms survey has not been done, carefully measure from the property lines.  If there is some doubt about whether the structure encroaches over building lines, have a survey done before proceeding.  In addition to the layout, the inspector will check the steel content, depth of footings, post tension cables, and other parts of the foundation.  

Pre-Sheetrock Inspection

Most builders invite the homeowner to do a walk through after framing, HVAC and plumbing rough-in, and electrical wiring are complete.  This is a good time to look at your outlet locations and window and door placements.  Make sure that any changes in the plans have been picked up and made by the sub contractors.  

While you check for layout items,  your home inspector can look closely at the  construction.  His report might include:  broken plumbing lines, improper flashing, cut or bowed studs, inadequate bracing, beams that over-span their strength, AC ducts that are crushed, etc.  These items are easy to correct at this point, before sheetrock and finish materials are installed.    

It is not realistic to expect the construction to check out perfectly.  Every builder in every price range will have some items to correct, both from the city and the third party inspector.   Let your builder know that you will provide him with the report immediately, so that he can address the items before the walls are closed up.  

Final Inspection

You will need to have all utilities on in order to complete this inspection.  Normally, the builder requests a “walk-thru” inspection with you when the house is substantially complete.  If utilities are on, you could schedule your inspector at this time.  You can focus on paint and touch up items, while your inspector conducts a more thorough inspection, checking for leaks, non functional outlets, final grading of the lot, flashing problems, appliance operation, voids in mortar, etc. 

The Construction Inspection

At some point you will sell you home, and your buyer will likely have your home inspected.  Some of the items the inspector catches now may seem minor, but they will come up later in your buyer’s home inspection if they are not corrected.   It is in your best interest to have everything nailed down now.  If there are items that cannot be fixed before closing, and you cannot delay closing, ask the builder to sign a written list of items to be repaired or completed.   

Building a new home can be an exciting and rewarding experience.  A new home can deliver the right floor plan and finishes for you.  It is a complicated project and huge investment.  The support, advice and information that you will gain from a third party inspection is invaluable.  Do not leave out this important step in the building process.  It is well worth the investment.

Top Ten Tips For Home Buyers

More than seven million American homes are sold every year. If you want to become a homeowner, there are 10 tips you should know:

About You

1. Pay your bills on time. This makes you a lower credit risk and, therefore, a better candidate for a mortgage at the lowest possible rate. Paying your bills now can make it easier for you to get a mortgage later. 

2. Check and update your credit report before starting to look for a home. Credit reports are used by lenders to determine whether you will qualify for the mortgage you seek and for the interest rate you pay, so make sure your report is accurate.

3. Determine what monthly mortgage payment you realistically can afford. Calculators to determine this can be found at The Home Loan Learning Center, which is part of the Mortgage Bankers Association’s web site. 

4. Take time to learn important terms and understand their meaning. Become familiar with words used in the home-buying process. 

About Your Loan

5. See your lender first. Find out what you can afford before you look at houses.

6. Shop around. Compare the different types of mortgages and the interest rates offered by different lenders. Have the lender validate your calculations and agree that you are qualified for a home loan and monthly payments of that size. Get prequalified. 

7. Understand the deal. Ask about closing costs and other fees before you sign the documents. Ask if you will incur costs if you refinance or prepay your mortgage. 

8. Work interactively with a mortgage lender. Your lender will likely need to talk with you from time to time and may need additional information. Make sure you get back to your lender quickly so the process can be completed as soon as possible. 

About Your Home

9. Avoid emotional buying. Before you look at any house, determine what features you really need in a home and then try to stick to the list you made.

10. Visit as many homes as possible.