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Consumer News and Advice Archive


How do I select a home inspector?

Begin by only hiring one who is qualified and experienced, someone who belongs to an industry trade group, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). This organization has developed formal inspection guidelines and a professional code of ethics for its members. Also, membership in ASHI is not automatic; ...


Should I hire a home inspector?

By all means. Buying a home without getting expert advice is risky. Once a home inspector uncovers major plumbing and electrical problems, for example, you may decide you do not want to spend several thousand dollars on repairs. ...


What does a home inspector do?

A home inspector is a paid professional---often a contractor or an engineer---who checks the safety of a home. Home inspectors search for defects or other problems that could become your worst nightmare later on. They focus particularly on the home's structure, construction, and mechanical systems. ...


What about appraised value and market value?

A certified appraiser who is trained to provide the estimated value of a home determines its appraised value. The appraised value is based on comparable sales, the condition of the property, and several other factors. ...


What is the difference between list price and sales price?

The list price is a seller's advertised price, or asking price, for a home. It is a rough estimate of what the seller wants to complete a home sale.A seller can price high, low---which does not happen very often---or very close to what they hope to get. A good way ...


Are there standard ways to determine how much a home is worth?

Yes. A comparative market analysis and an appraisal are the two most common and reliable ways to determine a home's value. ...


How do you determine how much a home is worth?

The short answer: a home is ultimately worth what is paid for it. Everything else is really an estimate of value. Take, for example, a hot seller's market when demand for housing is high but the inventory of available homes for sale is low. During this time, homes can sell ...


How does a lease option work?

A landlord agrees to give a renter an exclusive option to purchase the property. The option price is usually determined at the outset, but not always, and the agreement states when the purchase should take place---whether, say, six months, or a year or two down the road. ...


17 Tips for Making Your Country Place Safer

By Curtis Seltzer ...


How long do bankruptcies and foreclosure stay on a credit report?

They can remain on your credit record for seven to 10 years. ...


Can a home be sold for less than its mortgage?

Sometimes. But it is a complicated process and a lot will depend on the lender. ...


What types of foreclosures are there?

There are two types---judicial and non-judicial. A foreclosure that results from a court action is a judicial foreclosure. The mortgage deed or trust does not have a power of sale clause, therefore the lender, trustee or another lienholder must take the borrower to court to recover the unpaid balance of ...


If faced with foreclosure, what are my options?

Talk with your lender immediately. The lender may be able to arrange a repayment plan or the temporary reduction or suspension of your payment, particularly if your income has dropped substantially or expenses have shot up beyond your control. You also may be able to refinance the debt or extend ...


Are seller-paid points deductible?

For the buyer, yes, but not the seller---even though the seller pays them. Since January 1, 1991, homebuyers have been able to deduct points paid by the seller whereas, previously, they could only deduct the actual points they paid on the home loans themselves.


What about repairs made to get the home ready for sale?

If you realize a taxable gain after you sell your home, even with an exclusion, you can reduce your gain with selling costs. These selling costs may include items that are otherwise considered to be repairs---such as painting, wallpapering, even planting flowers---if you complete them within 90 days of your ...