To The Perfect Second Home



The largest numbers of second homes are in states with large populations. The greatest percentage of second homes are in smaller and less populous states. The most popular locations for second homes are near bodies of water and mountains and second home buyers prefer rural settings to those more urban, but in most cases, second homes are within less than a day’s drive from the primary residence. Second homes are everywhere 10 Tips For First-Time Buyers Each year more than 40 percent of all homes are purchased by first-time buyers according to the National Association of Realtors, a percentage which should offer some comfort if you’re about to buy a first home. Others have done it, others are doing it, and you can too. But like most things, there are ways to make the process easier. Here in capsule form are 10 baseline strategies to make that first purchase a good experience
8 Tips for Protecting Yourself When You Buy a House If you’re getting ready to buy a house during what is typically the busiest buying and selling time of the year, then offers may be flying, loans may seem confusing, and everything may be moving way too fast. That’s why it’s important to do everything you can to protect yourself throughout the entire home buying process
Buyer Strategies in a Seller’s Market Besides the common problems with a seller’s market ? not enough inventory and too many buyers ? there’s also the problem that a house can actually sell for too much. This can happen when a contract price exceeds an appraisal from the bank. When this occurs the buyer must come up with the difference or the seller must reduce the sales price down to the appraisal
Buying A Fixer Upper House? Needs To Be In Marketable Condition Question: My wife and I have been looking for the right house to buy for the last year or so. Property values have skyrocketed so we have been searching for well-priced “handyman specials”, figuring we could buy at a good price and make improvements ourselves, over time. We found the perfect house in a great neighborhood for $230,000 Buying Homes In High-End Markets James and Michelle Rigdon purchased a new $427,000 Gilroy, CA home with a conventional $282,500 first mortgage, a $25,000 deferred payment California Housing Finance Agency second, an $85,000 third from South (Santa Clara) County Housing, a $6,500 fourth from the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County and a $6,000 grant from a non-profit agency Can You Afford to Buy a House? Be Sure to Factor in All the Costs While the thought of paying a mortgage is more enticing than paying rent, it’s important to understand all the costs involved in buying and owning a home as you determine whether you can afford to join the ranks of homeowners FHA Starts Matching Program For First-Time Buyers President Bush has signed a funding bill for the Department of Housing and Urban Development that gives life to a housing program first proposed by then candidate Bush during the 2000 campaign Finding A Home In The New Economy Looking for a home in a community that’s adapting well to the new economic order? Seek a region teeming with knowledge-based jobs and global trade. Look for a dynamic, fast-changing economy steeped in competition. And ferret out a digital economy built on an infrastructure of technological innovation Finding The Safest Communities Since Sept. 11, more and more Americans have pushed safety and security high on their list of requirements for the community where they might buy a home.
Some are reconsidering the allure of big city urban living, especially when a greater use of technology can permit them to live virtually anywhere and telecommute to the city for work First Time Buyers: Don’t Overlook a Home’s Potential When House Hunting For first-time homebuyers it’s an exciting, albeit nerve-wracking, experience. If you’re like others in the market for their first home, you probably have in mind exactly how your soon-to-be home will look. But it’s important not to fall into the bad decorating, dingy walls, and dirt-bare back yard equals bad-home trap. If you don’t see past the hideous wallpaper, funky light fixtures, and avocado green carpeting, you may miss out on a home with great potential. And, if you’re looking for a home in a seller’s market where homes are being snatched up as soon as they go on the market, you’ll come to realize you can’t be choosy if you want to make a competitive offer First Time Buyers: Tips For Surviving The Spring Frenzy If you’ve been waiting to get through the holidays and closer to warmer weather before beginning the search to buy your first home, you’re not alone. The traditionally busy spring real estate season is just around the corner, meaning heavy competition looms. But there are things you can do as a potential homebuyer to get a head start. The number of home sales in 2002 shattered records with 5.56 million existing and 979,000 new homes sold throughout the country, according to National Association of Realtors chief economist David Lereah. Home sales this year are expected to dip slightly, but remain robust Fixer-Uppers: Wise Investment Or Money Pit? Would you spend $650,000 for a beachfront home with sagging shutters, no landscaping, peeling paint, old appliances, outdated wallpaper and a generally drab exterior? On paper, the house sounds less-than-desirable — okay, it sounds hideous. But before you answer, consider that this potential fixer-upper is located in California just steps from the Pacific. Drab as it may be, could this home sparkle one day? With a coat of paint, some “sweat” equity, and thorough revamping inside and out could this property be an investment gem?
Gender Makes A Home Buying Difference There’s no question that men and women are different. Even when it comes to their housing choices, men and women are often profiles in contradiction. According to the National Association of Realtors’ latest profile of home buyers, three of every ten single females purchase either a condominium or townhouse. Only two in ten males make the same choice Get Into The Swing With A Golf Community The National Golf Foundation reports that since 1986, the number of golfers in the United States has jumped 34 percent. During that time, the number of residential golf communities has also been on the rise. In fact, the NGF says about 45 percent of golf course construction today is part of a residential community Getting The Right Numbers With A Lease/Purchase Agreement Who needs seller financing? Most people think that it’s for those who have damaged credit, or could not otherwise obtain conventional financing. That may be the case, and if indeed you have some credit issues that require seller financing, be prepared for the following terms Helping Your Children Buy Their House Q: What can you suggest about helping one’s adult children purchase a home? Our son and daughter-in-law currently rent a home, and pay $1,100 a month in rent. That could pay for a pretty decent monthly mortgage. However, coming up with the down payment for a home of approximately $200,000 is not easy for them. We can afford to help them with most – if not all – of the down payment. We would like to help them, but are concerned, just a little bit, about simply handing them an “early inheritance” Housing Counsel: ABC Of Home Buying Q: I have been a renter for several years, and have decided that it is time to buy. I am looking for a condominium apartment, and have located several that interest me. I am a “babe in the woods ” when it comes to real estate. What steps should I take to make sure that I am getting a good deal and that no one is taking advantage of me? How Soon To Buy After Bankruptcy Q: I filed for bankruptcy (Chapter 7) in early 2001 and it was discharged on 5 July 2001. I currently own a townhouse. I wanted to sell it and buy a single family house. My questions are: How Your Parents Can Help You Buy Q: My parents are in the mid-seventies, and are retired. They have some money in their IRA account and have offered to help me purchase a condominium unit. The price is approximately $150,000. I am a first-time homebuyer and would like to know how this works? Inspection is Important if You’re Buying a Condo If you’re one of the growing numbers of homeowners opting for a condo, you shouldn’t consider the buying process any different than if you are buying a single-family home – especially when it comes to the home inspection Keeping Peace With Your Live-In: Get a Written Agreement Before Your Buy Q: Within the next year, I will be purchasing property in the District of Columbia. The property and the mortgage will be in my name, but my boyfriend will be living in the property with me. Is there a domestic relations law that would allow the house to be split and sold if in the future, we should split up while we are both living in the property? Is there some way that I would have to relinquish half of my rights or ownership in the property because he will be paying half of the mortgage and utilities? Make Sure All Systems Are Go When You Inspect Your Would-Be Home You’ve finally found the perfect – or near-perfect – house. You’ve haggled, negotiated, and appear close to finalizing the deal. But first you’ll want to hire a professional inspector – and then you’ll want to do some inspecting yourself, including the home’s major systems Manufactured Homes Make Affordable Housing Option Growing up in the south, it was not unusual to pass by many mobile home parks on the way to anywhere. They were – and still are – considered a vital part of many communities across the country and may offer a viable alternative to traditional housing for households seeking an affordable home of their own Meeting the Seller, How To Find Bargaining Chips A buyer who finds that one special home may wonder why the present owner is selling. The reason could be as benign as a job transfer … or as nasty as a divorce with arduous negotiations.
Can buyers ask why a home is being sold? Or are such questions somehow unfair, something that goes in the “MYOB” (Mind Your Own Business) category? Newlyweds and New Homes Ah, the month of June approaches, a time for weddings and gifts. How about a shovel and some cash? Couples today are breaking away from the typical crystal, China and silver gift registries when it comes to asking for wedding gifts. Since a new marriage can often mean time for a new house, many couples are throwing tradition to the wind and asking for extremely practical gifts — like money toward a down payment or tools to keep their new house humming No Money Down For New Homes Yearning for a brand, spanking new home but don’t have any cash for a down payment? That may no longer be a problem under a new “strategic partnership” announced this week between the Nehemiah Corp. and the Homebuilders Financial Network. Under the terms of the alliance, Nehemiah will offer down payment assistance to cash-starved buyers who have their eyes on houses built by any of the 20 builders throughout the nation whose in-house mortgage operations are run by HFN No Money Down With A Difference Home buying with no money down is a wonderful concept, something that can make ownership available to huge numbers of people who otherwise are unable to buy. And yet there has not been a rush to buy homes with nothing down, in part because such financing has sometimes been promoted as a get-rich-quick device Plan on Buying a Home Next Year? Then Keep Holiday Spending to a Minimum If you’re close to buying a home in the coming year, then you’ll want to keep an especially close eye on your holiday spending – you don’t want to hamper your chances of getting a loan, and you’ll want to be sure you have plenty of cash on hand in your first year of homeownership Questions Every Buyer Should Ask When you’re in the market for a home, it seems as if there are millions of questions to ask — and no doubt plenty more. As buyers we become so wrapped up in the physical aspects of the house — the rooms, amenities, and structure — that we give less attention to quiet issues which may strongly impact our ability to enjoy a home Radon: What to Know Before You Buy a Home If you’re in the process of searching for or buying a home, you’ve probably been advised to have a home inspection. But there’s another test that you’ll want to make sure your potential home — or, if you don’t have plans to move, your current home — passes – the radon test Repair of Home Defects Negotiable With Seller Q: I am currently in escrow on a house. We had the inspection done yesterday. There are a few major concerns of which we were unaware. The largest is a faulty shower pan, which has been leaking for several years and has caused substantial damage to the sub-flooring. What is the best way to handle this? Allow the seller to choose the method and company to repair this? Or should I have a professional estimate the costs, then ask for cash from the seller so as to allow myself control over the work? I would like to know the best way to negotiate an allowance (or discount off sales price) for these items. I don’t expect the house to be restored to perfect condition for me, but I’ve heard of parties negotiating on such items Should You Invest In Foreclosures? Periodically I hear from readers who want to make $1 million in real estate — quickly and with no money down. Usually they want to know more about real estate foreclosures — how to buy them and how to profit from such homes. I’ve participated in a couple of these deals, and I’m now working on my second million — I gave up on the first Special Financing Available For Low Income Buyers I regularly receive e-mails from readers who desperately want to buy a house but just seem to be in dire straits financially. Beyond that, they are dismayed at the ever-increasing price of their rent and housing in general. In addition, they just can’t seem to make more money. They are in industries that will not provide them more opportunity than what they have now Survey On Second-Home Market Is a Revelation Thinking about a second home? In 2001, nearly 6 percent of the record 6.2 million sales of single-family homes were of second homes. According to the most recent data, there were 3.6 million vacant seasonal homes in the third quarter of 2002, up from 3.1 million in 1990 and only 1.7 million in 1980, the U.S. Census Bureau said The Art of House Hunting: 8 Tips to Help in Your Search Armed with your down payment and your pre-approved mortgage loan, the next step is finding the house that will best meet your family’s needs. With realistic expectations, patience, and plenty of research, you’ll be well on your way. Once you narrow it down to the neighborhoods you like, you’ll want to determine the maximum house price you can afford. Even though you’re pre-approved for a set loan amount, it doesn’t mean you can afford it. You’ll want to factor in other expenses, including retirement and college savings, vacations, and home maintenance and repairs, when you calculate how much you can afford for a monthly payment. And don’t forget to budget for homeowners insurance and property taxes The Disadvantages Of Condominium Ownership For some homebuyers, condominiums are a godsend. They provide a means of building equity without the hassles of yard work and other outdoor maintenance projects, as well as many of the indoor chores and financial responsibilities that single-family homeowners typically face Tips for Buying A Home When You’re Single It appears fewer singles are buying homes. And competing against dual-income bids in a period of low interest rates and a dearth of available homes could spell more tough months ahead for single homebuyers. In 2001, single women bought 15 percent of homes, while single men purchased 7 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors’ survey, “2002 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers,” which evaluates marketing, demographic, and other characteristics of home buyers and sellers Tips for Buying an Un-Built Home The National Association of Home Builders reports that new-home sales in August reached a record 996,000 units on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. “Very low interest rates and the widely held view that housing is a very good investment are largely responsible for the surge in new home sales,” said NAHB President Gary Garczynski, a builder/developer from Woodbridge, Va Trying to Buy A “Diamond In The Rough”? The paper said “diamond in the rough.” Which means either it needs lots of work or perhaps just a little TLC. But exactly how “rough” can a house be before a lender decides the collateral is not healthy enough to issue a mortgage? And what happens if you want the seller to fix something before you’ll close the deal? Was There Water Damage In The Home You Want To Buy? Most of the time, people have good intentions, but as a buyer, you need to protect yourself from mistakes the seller may make in giving you proper disclosures. This is especially important when it comes to environmental issues such as water damage that can lead to mold Which Is Better, More Down Or Less? Question: I have been renting the same townhouse for the last six years. My landlord now wants to sell the property and he has asked if I want to buy it. He is offering to sell it to me for $220,000, which I think is a great deal. I have a good salary, good credit and a good savings account. My question is this: How much cash should I use as a down payment and how much of a loan should I apply for? Some people tell me I should put at least 20 percent down to eliminate Private Mortgage Insurance (MI). Others have said I should keep my cash and take the largest loan possible to get the tax deduction. Is there a rule of thumb that I should follow when it comes to a down payment? Why Buyer Brokers Sometimes Advise “No” As a first-time buyer who knows she needs help holding her own against other buyers for the house she wants to purchase and also owners with broker representation. She hires an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, (ABR) Mac Martin who works in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to advocate and negotiate her position. He advises her that based on the current seller’s market and the fierce competition for homes like this, her best advantage is to You’ve Bought Your House – Now What? Escrow has closed, the title is in your name, and the hassle of moving is finally over. While you may feel like the home buying process is behind you, it’s not. Now comes the onslaught of mailers, solicitations, and tempting offers geared toward new homeowners, who are typically trying to rebuild their finances

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