Homes for Sale

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The first step to buying a home requires deciding how much you can afford.  Lenders look at each borrower to understand credit scores, employment history, and debt-to-income ratio (DTI).  The borrower is qualified by a simple interview and quick calculation.   Yet, in this housing market, pre-qualification is not enough to write an offer on a home you want to buy.  You must be pre-approved by a lender and when purchasing a distressed property like a short sale or REO (bank-owned, foreclosure) the lender can not be a mortgage broker but a direct lender.

Understanding home loans and how mortgage rates are determined is your home work before heading out to the open houses this weekend.  Here are some great books and downloadable PDFs that can help you learn everything you wanted to know and more about home lending:

Looking for the best mortgage; shop, compare, negotiate – PDF

Each county has different rules on who pays for particular closing costs related to a real estate transaction.  These costs, as well as the loan costs are reported on a government created document called a HUD-1 (Housing Urban Development Form).  The escrow costs are fees generated by the neutral 3rd party clearing the offer and title to exchange between buyer and seller.  The title insurance is purchased by both seller and buyer to insure there is a clear chain of title that shows ownership from one seller to the next buyer.  Each county and sometimes each city charge transfer taxes when a property is sold and bought, and a recording fee for the new title.  Finally, pro-rations for property taxes, mortgage interest, and insurance are calculated based on the date ownership is transferred from seller to buyer.

Buying a home requires investigation of the home’s condition.  The seller is required to provide disclosures regarding the general condition of the home, issues with the home, and neighborhood concerns (noise, crime, etc).  If the home is a distressed property (short sale, REO, bank-owned, foreclosure), this knowledge will be limited and the disclosures will lack detail.  In either case, the buyer should investigate any and all concerns that may impact their opinion on the home’s value.  Disclaimer:  The following information is a generalized list of possible inspections and approximate cost for completing said inspections.  Each area is different and there may be inspections required that are not listed here that are dependent on the type of home or location of the home.

Home Inspection <2000sq ft $500
Pest Inspection <2000 sq ft $150
Roof Inspection two story $100
Chimney Inspection two story $125
Foundation Inspection $500
Engineering/Soil/Geo $1000+
Well/Perculation test $500+
Septic Inspection/Pump $500+