Insurance Cost

Be sure to shop around among several insurance companies. Also, consider the cost of insurance when you look at homes. Newer homes and homes constructed with materials like brick tend to have lower premiums. Think about avoiding areas prone to natural disasters, like flooding. Choose a home with a fire hydrant or a fire department nearby.
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Settlement Procedures Act

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act(RESPA) requires lenders to disclose information to potential customers throughout the mortgage process. By doing so, it protects borrowers from abuses by lending institutions. RESPA mandates that lenders fully inform borrowers about all closing costs, lender servicing and escrow account practices, and business relationships between closing service providers and other parties to the transaction. For more information on RESPA, call 1-800-217-6970 for a local counseling referral.
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Private Mortgage Insurance

Private Mortgage Insurance or Insurer(PMI). These are privately-owned companies that provide mortgage insurance. They offer both standard and special affordable programs for borrowers. These companies provide guidelines to lenders that detail the types of loans they will insure. Lenders use these guidelines to determine borrower eligibility. PMI's usually have stricter qualifying ratios and larger down payment requirements than the FHA, but their premiums are often lower and they insure loans that exceed the FHA limit.
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New Locks

When buying a house, be sure to change the locks immediately. There is no telling how many people had access to the previous owner's keys. When renting, be sure to ask about the landlord's key-control policies.
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Lead Disclosure

Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renting, buying, or renovating pre-1978 housing. Landords have to disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before leases take place. Leases must include a disclosure form about lead-based paint. Sellers have to disclosure known informaion on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before selling a house. Sales contracts must include a disclosure for about lead-based paint. Buyers have up to 10 days to check for lead.
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Foreclosure Types

Judicial foreclosure action is a proceeding in which a mortgagee, a trustee or another lienholder on property requests a court-supervised sale of the property to cover the unpaid balance of a delinquent debt. Nonjudicial foreclosure is the process of selling real property under a power of sale in a mortgage or deed of trust that is in default. In such a foreclosure, however, the lender is unable to obtain a deficiency judgment, which makes some title insurance companies reluctant to issue a policy.
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Community Resources

Contact the local chamber of commerce for promotional literature or talk to your real estate agent about welcome kits, maps, and other information. You may also want to visit the local library. It can be an excellent source for information on local events and resources, and the librarians will probably be able to answer many of the questions you have.
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Flood Plain

If you live in a flood plain, the lender will require that you have flood insurance before lending any money to you. But if you live near a flood plain, you may choose whether or not to get flood insurance coverage for your home. Work with an insurance agent to construct a policy that fits your needs.
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