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Home Buying 101 Archive


Is it possible to buy a home below market price?

Certainly, but do not hold your breath. It takes a lot of determination and time to find a real bargain. But if you are adamant, here are some likely targets to pursue: ...


Is private mortgage insurance necessary?

Lenders require private mortgage insurance (PMI) on most conventional loans with less than a 20 percent down payment. They believe there is a correlation between borrower equity and default. They have found that the less money borrowers put down, the more likely they are to default on a loan. ...


What about title insurance?

Title insurance protects the lender against unclear title to the property you are buying. It is almost always a requirement for closing on a home. If you desire coverage as well, buy an owner's policy, which will protect you against any title-search errors and losses that arise from disputes over ...


What is condo and co-op insurance?

This insurance protects your investment and personal belongings from most disasters. As an owner, you will need two insurance policies---your own to cover liability, living expenses, your belongings and structural improvements, and a master policy provided by the condo or co-op board. The master policy covers the common areas that ...


What kind of home insurance should I get?

A standard policy will do in most instances. It protects against several natural disasters and catastrophic events. However, it will not guard against earthquakes, floods, war, and nuclear accidents. The policy can be expanded to include these disasters as well as coverage for such things as workers' compensation. In ...


What does homeowners’ insurance cover?

It protects against disasters---whether natural, manmade or mechanical. A standard policy insures the home, as well as your possessions. Because this insurance is packaged, it covers liability for any harm, loss, and property damage that you or your family members cause others. And it includes additional living expenses in case ...


Do I need to be at the inspection?

No, but it is a very good idea to be there. Following the check-over, the home inspector can answer your questions and discuss problem areas with you. This is also an opportune time to get an objective opinion about the home from someone who does not have emotional or financial ...


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. ...