Some sellers offer the option of a seller-financed deal to home shoppers. Seller financing can be very attractive when a hopeful buyer can’t obtain a loan approval. After 2020, we could see an uptick in such situations, as a good number of sellers and buyers try to restore their pandemic-battered finances and seek alternative ways to borrow. Indeed, seller financing has long helped make homebuying a more flexible prospect for self-employed people and others who might not fit the profile preferred by loan underwriters. Bonus: no private mortgage insurance (PMI).Continue reading “The Seller-Financed Home Sale: Weighing the Risks and Rewards”
Many international buyers — often from Canada, China, Mexico, India or Great Britain — buy U.S. real property to offset the risk of their country’s currency devaluation, or simply to diversify their assets. If you’re a buyer from outside the United States, or a seller making an international sale, advance knowledge can help you navigate a few quirks in the process.Continue reading “Foreign Nationals Buying U.S. Real Estate: How It Works & Latest Quirks”
Many home deeds belong to couples. When couples separate, what happens to their deeds? And what can you do to protect your interests if you’re a homeowner who could be headed for divorce? Here, we take a look at a few of the biggest issues.Continue reading “Deeds and Divorce”
For generations, real estate has been at the core of wealth for people, families, and organizations. Today, a home is the most valuable asset owned by most people in the U.S. middle class. It’s the largest investment and a central retirement asset for most of the population.
Of course, a home should be a safe, comfortable space to enjoy life. At the same time, buying a home in a popular area can help the buyer attain a more comfortable financial life. Here, we explain how.Continue reading “Buying a House to Save Money? It’s a Tried and True Method.”
”In these uncertain times…”
Difficulties arise in life, sometimes out of the blue. Mortgage obligations that suited us just fine at first can become unmanageable when circumstances swerve out of control. At that point, a homeowner might approach the mortgage lender and ask for a few months of forbearance. Or perhaps it’s possible to work out a repayment plan, or get a loan modification. Sometimes, the homeowner’s financial stress is too serious for any of those options to apply.
Consider that the homeowner must resolve two obligations on the mortgage loan: the lien, and the promissory note, which is the promise of repayment. If an owner cannot keep that promise, the lender is allowed to recover and sell the house.Continue reading “I Can’t Pay My Mortgage Any More. What’s Next?”
A deed, of course, is a legal document representing property ownership. But you might be wondering if an owner can transfer a deed to another person without a real estate lawyer. The answer is yes. Parties to a transaction are always free to prepare their own deeds. If you do so, be sure your deed measures up to your state’s legal regulations, to help avert any legal challenge to the deed later.
Some deeds require more expertise than others. A quitclaim deed, for example, is far simpler than a warranty deed. Let’s take a closer look.Continue reading “Transferring a Deed Without a Lawyer? Here’s What You Should Know”
Walkable neighborhoods, green buildings, energy efficiency, low-carbon living… they’re all going mainstream now. Sustainable real estate is no longer a mere preference or buzzword. It has evolved into a basic need, addressing climate-related sea level rise and flooding in cities such as Washington D.C. We know the tide is turning when investors screen properties for sustainability.
What does this mean for individual homeowners? In increasing numbers, we’re integrating our environmental concerns into our lives at home. Here, we explore what today’s buyers and owners might want to know.Continue reading “Sustainability: A Brief Guide to Green Homes”
The new deadline for filing last year’s taxes is Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Time to review the current tax implications of owning a home.
First, we need to itemize homeowner deductions if we decide to claim them on our federal returns. There are a number of deductions available, but if you’re like most homeowners, you won’t itemize and claim them. This is because the IRS standard deduction is quite high since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The standard deduction that applies to the 2019 tax year is $24,400 for married partners filing jointly, $12,200 for single and married people filing separately, and $18,350 for single heads of households.
Most people prepare an itemized worksheet at least for their own knowledge — if only to compare the standard deduction against the itemized total before deciding how to file, or to show their accountants the expenditures. So, here are some major deductions of note at the current time.Continue reading “Real Estate Taxes: Tips and Updates”
When you tour a home, a big question is whether “what you see is what you get.” Appraisers, home inspection professionals, and title companies help offer the answers. Through the title search, ownership of the land in traced back in time, showing current legal ownership, easements, and any notable issues.
Until the moment the seller signs the buyer’s purchase offer, the buyer can back out of the deal, and a frequent reason for doing so involves marketability of title. A cloud on the title or an undisclosed easement might come to light, putting off a reasonable buyer. In any case, the mortgage lender must be convinced that the market price of the asset is truly fair and accurate—that what you see is what you get.
So, in the all-important tile search, a title company scours deeds and other documents recorded with the county, state and federal tax lien records, and various financial, bankruptcy, and divorce records that could complicate a title. If nothing substantial is unearthed, the title is deemed clean. Some common, even beneficial encumbrances will turn up in a title search. A buyer can expect to learn about homeowners’ association rules, utility easements, and normal zoning restrictions. But detrimental encumbrances can be dealbreakers.
Here are seven of the most common title issues to watch for in any real estate sale:Continue reading “7 Common Title Problems in Real Estate Deals”
Tech is transforming real estate at a speed that worries some and excites others.
But many would agree that current real estate transactions trigger as much anxiety as joy. A deal can take months, with a string of third parties showering sellers and buyers with fees and paperwork. Those with inside knowledge have an edge in the market, while the ordinary person’s buying process is steered by experts and administrators.
Can technology put ordinary homeowners and home shoppers in the driver’s seat?Continue reading “Fintech and Proptech and Deeds… Oh My! Trends Shaping the Future of Real Estate”