Property Tax Liabiliy

The total amount of the previous year's property taxes is usually included in the listing information. If it's not, ask the seller for a tax receipt or contact the local assessor's office. Tax rates can change from year to year, so these figures maybe approximate.
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Home Warranty Coverage

A home warranty, or home protection plan, is a service contract, normally for one year, which protects homeowners against the cost of unexpected repairs or replacement on their major systems and appliances that break down due to normal wear and tear. A negotiable contract between the buyers and sellers which do not overlap or replace homeowner's insurance policy, this type of warranty can save the new homeowner lots of headaches, as well as put seller's fears to rest. The warranty covers mechanical breakdowns, while insurance typically repairs the related damage, for example: if a hot water heater burst and destroyed a wall in your home, the warranty would repair the water heater and your insurance would pay to fix the wall.
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Securing a Loan

The first step in securing a loan is to complete a loan application. To do so, you'll need the following information: Pay stubs for the past 2-3 months; W-2 forms for the past 2 years; Information on long-term debts; Recent bank statements; Tax returns for the past 2 years; Proof of any other income; Address and description of the property you wish to buy; Sales contract. During the application process, the lender will order a report on your credit history and a professional appraisal of the property you want to purchase. The application process typically takes between 1-6 weeks.
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Closing Day Events

You'll present your paid homeowner's insurance policy or a binder and receipt showing that the premium has been paid. The closing agent will then list the money you owe the seller (remainder of down payment, prepaid taxes, etc.) and then the money the seller owes you (unpaid taxes and prepaid rent, if applicable). The seller will provide proofs of any inspection, warranties, etc. Once you're sure you understand all the documentation, you'll sign the mortgage, agreeing that if you don't make payments the lender is entitled to sell your property and apply the sale price against the amount you owe plus expenses. You'll also sign a mortgage note, promising to repay the loan. The seller will give you the title to the house in the form of a signed deed. You'll pay the lender's agent all closing costs and, in turn, he or she will provide you with a settlement statement of all the items for which you have paid. The deed and mortgage will then be recorded in the state Registry of Deeds, and you will be a homeowner.
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How Much House

The conventional home buying wisdom is to buy as much house as you can afford. It is important, however, to limit your mortgage obligation to what you can comfortably manage, especially during times when the economy is uncertain.
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Buying Compromises

If you find that today's home prices require you to make compromises (as is probably the case for most first-time buyers) look for homes that you could expand or upgrade in the future, to add the space or amenities you can't afford today.
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Truth in Lending

The Truth in Lending Act gives homeowners three days from the day the account was opened to cancel their credit line. However, the homeowner must inform the lender in writing within those three days. According to the FDIC, the lender then must cancel its security interest in the home and return all fees paid.
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Mortgage

Generally speaking, a mortgage is a loan obtained to purchase real estate. The "mortgage" itself is a lien (a legal claim) on the home or property that secures the promise to pay the debt. All mortgages have two features in common: principal and interest.
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Choosing a Lender

Choose your lender carefully. Look for financial stability and a reputation for customer satisfaction. Be sure to choose a company that gives helpful advice and that makes you feel comfortable. A lender that has the authority to approve and process your loan locally is preferable, since it will be easier for you to monitor the status of your application and ask questions. Plus, it's beneficial when the lender knows home values and conditions in the local area. Do research and ask family, friends, and your real estate agent for recommendations.
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