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Consumer News and Advice Archive


What is a mortgage and how does it work?

A mortgage makes homeownership possible for most people. In the simplest terms, it is a loan that is secured by real property. The lender holds title to the home until the loan is completely repaid. If you fail to pay up, the lender has a right to take the property, ...


Why is location so important?

Location remains the single most important factor when choosing a home. It can make or break the value and desirability of a home. ...


What about guidelines for VA foreclosures?

As with HUD, anyone can purchase a VA home. Qualified buyers also can receive the benefit of a VA loan - no money down - even if they are not veterans. If you are interested in purchasing a VA foreclosure, visit its web site, www.va.gov.


What are some of the guidelines for purchasing HUD foreclosures?

If you have the cash or can qualify for a mortgage, you can buy a HUD home. Down payments vary depending on whether the property is eligible for FHA insurance. If so, the down payment can be lower than the 5 to 20 percent required on conventional loans. HUD requires ...


How do I find government-repossessed properties?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) acquires properties from lenders who foreclose on mortgages that it insures. These properties are then available for sale to potential homeowner-occupants and investors only through a licensed real estate broker. HUD will pay the broker's commission up to 6 percent of the ...


What are the disadvantages of buying foreclosures?

Buying directly at a legal foreclosure sale is risky. Among the disadvantages: ...


What happens at a trustee sale?

When a homeowner falls behind on three payments, the bank will record a notice of default against the property. When the owner fails to pay up, a trustee sale is held, and the property is sold to the highest bidder. The lender that initiated the foreclosure proceedings will usually set ...


Where can I find foreclosure properties?

Look in the legal notices section of your local newspaper. A notice is also usually posted on the property itself and somewhere in the city where the sale will take place. ...


What causes a foreclosure?

A lender decides to foreclosure, or repossess, a property when the owner fails to pay the mortgage. Unfortunately, thousands of homes end up in foreclosure every year. Many people lose their homes due to job loss, credit problems, divorce, unexpected expenses, and during periods of economic instability. ...


What about a vacation home as an investment?

Like any investment, it can be risky. Location and current market conditions are extremely important when deciding whether to buy. ...


Should I buy a vacation home?

The second home market has more ebbs and flows than the primary home market. Sales are iffy in a bad economy except, perhaps, on the high-end. That said, there is a growing trend toward the purchase of vacation homes. They are being bought for investment purposes, enjoyment, as well as ...


Do builders provide financing?

Many builders offer financing incentives to help move more buyers into a project. In fact, major building companies often have their own mortgage brokerage subsidiaries, while many other builders routinely refer buyers to "preferred" local lenders. If it is a buyer's market in your area, you can be sure developers ...


What else should I take into account when buying a new home?

You can find out more about an existing property and neighborhood before you buy than you can a new home in a newly developed community. ...


Should I hire a home inspector for a new home?

You would think not since it is new and the developer has to adhere to local construction guidelines. However, err on the side of caution---always hire an inspector, whether the home is old or new. ...


What about low down payment loans?

Such loans are offered by a host of private lenders and government agencies. In fact, there are government programs at both the federal and state level to help cash-strapped buyers. Under many state guidelines, borrowers must usually be first-time homebuyers or have a limited family income to qualify for low ...