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Consumer News and Advice Archive


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 ...


Why do lenders require a down payment?

It protects them should you default on the loan, especially if you fail to make payments in the early years of the loan when more is owed on it. Foreclosure, property fix-up, and resale costs could result in a loss on the mortgage loan. ...


Where can I get a mortgage?

You can get a home loan from a number of different sources, a credit union, commercial bank, mortgage company, finance company, government agency, thrift - which includes savings banks and savings & loan associations - mortgage broker, and even the seller. ...


Five Ways to Capitalize on Home Energy Efficiency Improvement Tax Credit

RISMEDIA, Dec. 3, 2007-U.S. homeowners have just one month to utilize a soon-to-expire federal tax credit aimed at encouraging home energy efficiency. The tax credit, created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, allows for a tax credit of up to 10% of the cost of materials for certain home ...


How to Protect Properties for Year-Round Conditions

RISMEDIA, Dec. 3, 2007-The 2007 hurricane season comes to a mostly quiet end for coastal residents, but a national safety group warns that the nation's prolonged drought conditions could leave many regions trading the threat of strong winds for wildfire. ...


Surviving the Holidays: 10 Tips for Busy Homeowners

RISMEDIA, Nov. 30, 2007-Surviving the holidays is hard enough without having to think about how to care for your home. For a busy homeowner, remembering to clean out the gutters and downspouts may be at the end of the weekend "to-do" list, however, it's ...


Can you negotiate the price of a new home?

In real estate, almost everything is negotiable, so it is certainly worth a try. Now, this does not mean the builder will fall down and roll over. It is very common for builders to claim that their prices are based on fixed construction costs. Perhaps, but timing is everything. ...


Are special tax breaks available for historic rehabilitation?

Certified historic structures now enjoy a 20 percent investment tax credit for qualified rehabilitation expenses, if they are income producing properties. A historic structure is one listed in the National Register of Historic Places or so designated by an appropriate state or local historic district that is certified by the ...


What about state and local governments?

Just about every state now offers loans for renovation and rehabilitation at below-market interest rates through its Housing Finance Agency or a similar agency. Call your governor's office to get the name and phone number of the agency in your area. ...