When you’re browsing the listings, you might encounter the
terms pre-foreclosure or short sale. What’s the scoop on these
It all starts when homeowners with mortgages find themselves
under water — property values drop, and a homeowner owes more on the loan than
the house is worth. Further, the owner has fallen on difficult financial
circumstances and is unable to find assets or sources of income to keep covering
the regular monthly payments. Hoping to avoid foreclosure
and keep some control over the transfer of the property, the homeowner asks the
lender to approve a short sale of the home — meaning the lender will agree to
receive less money than the outstanding mortgage balance from an unrelated
person who buys the house.
Continue reading “What Is a Short Sale — And What Does It Mean for Home Buyers?”
Today’s Real Estate Pros Let You Renovate Now and Pay Later
Concierge services are making a big splash in the real
estate world. Chances are, you’ve received postcards from local agents showing
before-and-after images of recently spruced-up homes. Text on the postcards
explains how a local agent just sold a comparable home to yours at a truly
impressive price — and can win similar success for yours. What’s more, you
don’t even need to be in the position to afford renovations. You can optimize
the appeal of your home now, and pay later, after your home sells or the
In a sense, the concierge concept competes with the
continuing advancement of property
technology. While tech streamlines the experience of home selling,
concierge services add elements of support that go above and beyond the norm. Often
without adding fees, agents can anticipate the services sellers need most, and
that local buyers are willing to reward.
Of course, real estate brokers and agents have recommended
or provided home improvement services for years. But today’s innovation-focused
real estate companies are bringing the idea into the mainstream and creating
new financing options.
Continue reading “Concierge Services for Home Sellers”
When a person passes away, the death certificate and last
will are submitted to the county probate court. A person representative begins
the process of passing assets along as the will directs — except when other
valid legal instruments have priority. One of those instruments is the
all-important real estate deed.
Houses can be left to their owners’ chosen
beneficiaries through wills. But when someone who co-owns a house passes away, questions
may arise as to what the last will says versus what the deed says. In case of a
conflict, does the last will get the last word? Short answer: probably not. The
long answer starts with the
way the title is vested.
Survivorship Rights Vs. Tenancies in Common
When an owner dies, a properly signed and recorded deed directs
and channels the person’s property interest to its next owner, typically according
to the following rules.
Continue reading “What Happens When Wills and Deeds Conflict?”
We all need to know if anything could compromise our ownership of property we buy. We rely on title companies to affirm that the seller has the rights to sell. To affirm this, the title company in turn relies on a legal expert’s opinion of the integrity of the deed — an opinion of title. This document offers clarity and confidence that the seller has full rights in the property, and the ability to transfer it. Then, the title company can back that guarantee with title insurance.
In this article, we look
at these two sets of assurances: the opinion of title and title insurance — and
Continue reading “An Opinion of Title: What Home Buyers Should Know”
Are you watching the value of your home over time, and
seeing your equity rise? Are you planning to have your home appraised so you
can set an asking price for it, or borrow against its value?
A few simple fixes, upgrades and flourishes can help you
sustain your home equity over time, or help your home ace its next appraisal.
Here, we’ve put together a checklist of things you can do to get the most value
for your effort and investment.
Continue reading “Maintaining Your Home’s Value: Upgrades, Upkeep… And a Few Flourishes”
A credit score is part of each home buyer’s whole debt and
income picture. Lenders consider it a key factor when deciding to approve a
loan application. To put the score in context, a lender’s top questions are:
- Whether the borrower can repay the loan,
- Whether past credit history suggests that the
borrower will repay the loan.
The FICO® Score, which is the best known of several credit
scoring tools, comes from the Fair Isaac Corp. As we’ll see, mortgage
lenders can take other scores into account, too, and even tweak the factors in
the scores to come up with unique tests for loan approvals. The good news?
While mortgage lenders use their secret sauces to determine creditworthiness,
we, the applicants, give them the ingredients.
Here, we take a look at how credit scoring actually works,
and how to optimize your score.
Continue reading “Applying for a Mortgage? Get the Facts on Credit Scores—and How to Improve Yours”
Thinking of buying a foreclosed home? The lower prices for
foreclosures among the listings are certainly tempting! Even better, a lower
price translates to lower property taxes. But given the potential pitfalls, will
the deal be worthwhile?
Buyers’ experiences vary widely. States vary, too, in laws
and policies related to the way foreclosures are handled. That noted, here is a
general planning guide to buying a home in foreclosure.
Continue reading “What to Know Before You Buy a Foreclosed Home”
It’s not the easiest topic we cover, but we know foreclosure
sales will be on the uptrend as the U.S. works for financial recovery from a
global public health crisis. Many readers are currently stretched thin by their
mortgage obligations combined with other debts. For some, the financial stress
will be overwhelming. If any helpful arrangements offered by the government or
the lender cannot be sustained, homes can ultimately be taken back by the lending
Under your mortgage agreement, your home is collateral in
case you stop repaying the loan. So, in a default situation, a lender will follow
the process agreed upon in the contract, in order to sell the house and use the
sale proceeds to pay the loan debt and the administrative costs of foreclosure.
Many people are anticipating that possibility, depending on how feasible it is
for them to adjust to our abruptly changed economy.
For the owner motivated to keep the house, can filing for
bankruptcy help? It can, if the homeowner has a regular source of income. Let’s
look at how this works.
Continue reading “Can Filing for Bankruptcy Save a Home From Foreclosure?”
If your house is titled in your spouse’s name, what are your
rights in the home? The answer depends on several factors, starting with the
law and customs of your home state. Let’s take a look.
Continue reading “You’re Married. You’re Not on the House Title. What Are Your Rights?”
Homeowners pay taxes on their real estate to fund local
services. Renters, too, pay property taxes, as they’re rolled into monthly rent
charges. The property taxes we all pay go to sustain libraries and schools, emergency
services, environmental projects, sewer work and road maintenance.
How much is one property’s share? To determine this amount, an
assessor multiplies the local tax rate by a property’s value. Many assessors’
offices use discounted values of properties when coming up with their tax
assessments, not the full market price; still, property taxes often amount to
thousands of dollars each year. With local governments determining them, rates
vary from county to county, and big cities generally collect higher
property taxes than suburban developments or country towns do.
Home shoppers need to check the property tax when perusing a
listing, and include that tax in the cost of owning a particular home. Plus, they
should expect a possibly higher tax after buying the home, as there could be a
new assessment when the deed changes hands.
A homeowner’s mortgage account may hold money aside in
escrow. Of course, the owner pays into the escrow account — but this way, the
owner’s taxes will be continually kept up to date without the owner having to
remember to submit a payment each time local taxes are due.
Continue reading “How Not to Overpay Your Property Taxes”