You Signed a Sales Contract. Now What?

You’ve made an offer on a home and the seller has accepted. Depending on your contract, this period (in some states called being “in escrow”) can go on for 30 days, 45 days, 60 days or more. To you, it may feel like someone put a ring on it: A promise has been made and…

Escrow and the Home Buying Process

Escrow. The word takes on different meanings as you move your way through the home buying process. The whole thing can get straight-up confusing, so we’re here to pin down the details. The Escrow Process After you and the seller shake hands, you enter a period when the home is under contract or “in escrow.”…

The Appraisal: Go Sign or Roadblock?

Why does your dream home have to be appraised before the deal can go through? It’s not meant to completely annoy you, but protect you and your lender. It’s a sign to let all parties know you’re going in the right direction, and the home is worth what you’re paying for it. An appraisal is…

Why Title Insurance Could Bring More Drama Than You Bargained For

Title insurance is in place to protect you and your lender should an individual or entity step forward with a claim that was attached to the property before the seller transferred legal ownership of the property or “title” to you. Not the sexiest part of the home buying process in most cases, right? But things…

Homeowners Insurance: Why You Need It, How to Get It

A tree falling on your roof. A lightning bolt out of the sky. Fire, hail or theft. There are so many ways in which your property can be jacked up. The odds are against it. Nevertheless, the bank wants its investment protected. And you want to be protected, too. If you’re buying a home with…

How to Come Correct at Closing

The first time you close on a house is about as epic as graduation day, wedding day or maybe even your baby’s first ultrasound. It helps to know what to expect when you’re expecting to get a set of keys in your hot little hand. “Do a final walk-through with your realtor on the morning…

Your Debt-to-Income Ratio: What It is and Why It Matters

You may feel like your finances are your business, something you’d prefer to keep on the low. But when you decide to buy a home, financial privacy pretty much goes out the window. Before a lender will give you a loan, he or she needs to have a clear picture of your financial situation: what’s…

Why You’ll Dig Doing Taxes After You Buy Your First Home

Here’s an insane detail to chew on: Numerous tax breaks will now be available to you that weren’t when you were a renter. In fact, “a $1,200 mortgage payment, with the tax advantages, is the same as an $800 rent payment,” says Tim Magee, president of Magee Mortgage Associates. That’s because Uncle Sam provides Americans…

Getting Real About Mortgage Rates

Some things in life are not fixed and stable. Take, for instance the price of airline tickets. So annoying. And then there’s the rate of interest charged on a mortgage. You may be charged an interest rate that’s much higher or lower than the rate the same lender offers your sister for the exact same…

The Not-So-Bad News About Short Sales

A short sale means that the owner of the home owes more to the bank than the home itself is worth (i.e. “under water” or “upside down”) and now wants to sell. The owner is in a bad spot, as he or she will get little or nothing from the sale, and the bank is…