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Top 10 Tools for Home Buyers

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RISMEDIA, June 23, 2008-Purchasing a home is a huge financial commitment that requires complex calculations before you even begin looking at houses. Since getting all the answers to your house hunt’s most important questions can be a daunting task, HGTV’s new real estate site-Frontdoor.com-is offering a handy toolkit for home buyers. This user-friendly guide is packed with tips that will break down the overwhelming process and help you develop a home-buying strategy that will allow you to spend more time searching for your perfect home.

Frontdoor.com’s Top 10 Tools for Home Buying:

1. Rent vs. Buy Calculator:

Homeownership comes with great benefits like tax breaks and the chance to build wealth, but renting can often be a less expensive and more convenient option for many people. FrontDoor.com’s “Rent vs. Buy Calculator” compares the costs of renting and buying and helps you determine which alternative is right for you.

2. How-To Guide:

Once you decide that buying a home is the right move, the first thing you’ll need is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide that you can refer to throughout the home-buying process. FrontDoor.com’s “First-Time Home Buyer’s Guide” and “Experienced Buyer’s Guide” offer expert tips and advice for buying your first or your umpteenth home.

3. Home Wish List:

Having a written vision of everything you want and need in a home will keep you enthusiastic and focused during your search. Think about your lifestyle and make sure it’s compatible with your vision of home. Do you need to live close to your workplace? Are you planning a family and need extra space? Questions like these will influence what type of home you need.

4. Home Affordability Calculator:

In general, you shouldn’t spend more than 2.5 times your gross annual income on a home, and your mortgage payment should be less than 28% of your gross monthly income. FrontDoor.com’s “Can I Afford It? Calculator” will estimate what you can afford by comparing your monthly income with your monthly expenses.

5. Mortgage Calculator:

The amount of your loan, the interest rate and the term of the mortgage affect both your monthly and total mortgage payments. And don’t forget about property taxes, hazard insurance and private mortgage insurance. FrontDoor.com’s “Mortgage Calculator” shows you how much you’ll wind up paying.

6. Fixed vs. Adjustable Rate Mortgages Calculator:

A fixed rate mortgage offers an unchanging interest rate, while an adjustable rate mortgage has an interest rate that changes over the life of the loan. The type you choose depends on your ability and willingness to take financial risks. FrontDoor.com’s “Fixed vs. Adjustable Rate Mortgages Calculator” helps you compare the two options.

7. Mortgage Term Length Calculator:

Assess your financial situation to figure out which term length is best for you. If you can afford to make larger monthly payments, you’ll save in the long run by paying less interest with a short-term mortgage. The “Which Term Length Is Best? Calculator” shows how much you’ll pay with various term lengths.

8. No Cost Loan Calculator:

If you’re short on cash and can’t fork up thousands of dollars at closing, consider a no-cost loan. Lenders offer these loans for a higher interest rate, allowing them to cover your closing costs and still make a profit. To find out if a no-cost loan is a better option for you than a traditional mortgage, use FrontDoor.com’s “No-Cost Loans Calculator.”

9. Mortgage Points Calculator:

Points lower your interest rate and are tax deductible, but you’ll have to pay more cash at closing. One point is equal to one percent of your loan. The “Should I Pay Points? Calculator” helps you decide if paying for points now will help you save money in the long run.

10. House Tour Worksheet:

You’ll look at a lot of houses during your hunt for the perfect home, and eventually they’ll start to blend together. Take pictures and detailed notes about what you liked and didn’t like about each home so you can differentiate them. Use your completed worksheets to narrow your search and focus on the houses you really liked.

FrontDoor is like house hunting with an in-the-know friend. Use this helpful guide to formulate your own searching and buying strategy and look for more advice, insight and assistance at FrontDoor.com, including information on ways to beat a sluggish housing market.

For more information, visit http://www.frontdoor.com.

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