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BUYING A NEW HOME: Start searching for the home and determine how much the home would be. Get prequalified and preapproved for mortage loan then find the right real estate agent. Search properties without committing to an agent or feeling pressure to make a move. Shop for the home and make offer. Get the home inspection.

Finding the Right Home: Use public records and online real estate listings to do research. Focus on gathering information about the seller, the property and the neighborhood. You can find out if the house is in foreclosure, whether the seller is party to a divorce proceeding, see the Google street view and determine whether the house has been on the market before and at what price. When searching for the ideal home, the location is going to be the most crucial factor. The reasons location is so vital is that you want your home’s value to grow over time. A good location mean a fairly good commute, an easily accessible downtown area with restaurants and shopping, access to good schools and more. Or a home in a more secluded area, far away from the hustle and bustle of town. Finding the right location for family needs will likely make everyone much happier in the long run. The right house is the house that you want to go inside and embraces you the moment you enter. The bathrooms are bright and clean. The best time to buy a house is in the late summer or fall. Shoppers will find plenty of homes on the market, but not as much competition for them as in the spring and early summer, when more buyers are on the prowl.

Home Appraisals | What's Your Home Worth? The big demand sometime has created an increase in market prices, with houses being listed and sold for well above their expected value. As a result, the market is very much favouring sellers. Borrowers simply couldn't make a cash offers investors could to win the bidding wars. To stay competitive, buyers have had to put all kinds of incentives in their offers, such as escalation clauses and faster closings. But the appraisal-gap clause could help. An appraisal-gap clause essentially says buyer will pay the difference between the offer and the house's appraised value up to but not exceeding a certain amount. This give the seller a guarantee the house won't fall through because of an appraisal, but it also saves buyer from having to back out of the deal or front the whole difference. This way, the buyer can make a competitive offer without fear of losing out during the appraisal stage.

‹•› Let say the buyer offered $20,000 above the asking price for a house and included an appraisal-gap clause to pay up to but not exceeding $5,000 of the difference in cash. If the seller quickly accepted the offer, voila the buyer is on his/her way to escrow.

‹•› When the appraisal report came through. The house appraised at $15,000 below the buyer original offer. Had the buyer not has the appraisal gap in place, The buyer would have lost out on the house. The buyer didn't have $15,000 cash on top of the down payment and closing costs, and the seller had other interested buyers who could afford to pay the difference. The deal went through. The additional $5,000 was just enough to keep the seller invested in the party transaction, and it was as much as the buyer could afford to bring to closing. If you don't want to pay extra out of pocket than what an appraiser thinks the house is worth, make sure you have a home-appraisal contingency in your purchase agreement so you can back out if the house appraises for too little. It's important to thoroughly understand what different clauses can and cannot do for you. While a purchase agreement can often be hard to wade through, with many pages of legal and real-estate jargon, it's essential to know the backup plans and exit routes in case issues arise with a home.

The Biggest Mistake When It Comes to Buying a Home: Falling in love with a property. There are others that are just as great. If the numbers don’t work, don’t buy the property. Not having a large reserve fund or having enough cash flow to repairs and mortgage payments. If the property does not have more than one way to make you money, it isn’t a great investment. Never invest in condos, townhouses, and homes in strict HOA neighborhoods or neighborhoods that have high association fees.

Finding the Right Real Estate Agent: It's very important to have someone helping you that understands how to navigate the up and down market, and has a track record of winning in multiple-offer situations and negotiating. The State should have a website where one can look up the state-issued professional licenses an individual holds. Try Googling "Texas professional licensing. Also contact the local board of REALTORS directly to inquire if the agent/company with which you are dealing is a registered member in good standing. The real agen is who can write an offer on your behalf, and who negotiates with home sellers so you don’t have to. Someone who amps up your confidence and counsels you through big decisions (teamwork makes the dream work). And, someone who wants you to find a house you can be happy in because they’re invested in your happiness. If the housing market doesn’t line up with your needs and budget, your agent will go back to the drawing board with you. They interpret raw housing data through the filter of your unique search, then tell you what’s important and why. They help you map the path to your goal, and connect you with trusted experts who can get you into your dream home. A good agent, with knowledge of the market and negotiation experience, can make the difference between a successful purchase and a deal that falls apart. In most cases, buyers pay nothing to use an agent because real estate commissions are covered by the seller.


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Finding the Right Lender: Shop around to find the best mortgage lender. Consider different options like local bank, local credit unions, online lenders and more. Ask each of them about rates, loan terms, down payment requirements, property insurance, closing cost and fees of all kinds, and compare these details. Find lenders who offer government backed home loan and ask about first-time home buyer programs. Wholesale rates can actually be much cheaper than retail interest rates you'll get with banks, meaning a lower monthly mortgage payment. Of course, most borrowers will attempt to secure financing with their local bank or credit union before turning to a mortgage broker. The best home lender would be Quicken Loans, SoFi, Citi Mortgage and Chase.

The Art of Bargaining: If there are more homes for sale in the area than people who want them, there is usually more room for negotiation than if there’s a shortage of inventory, as is the case in many desirable neighborhoods throughout the country. A good rule of thumb though is to offer 5% to 10% lower than the asking price. Don't forget that sellers often take this into account and deliberately put their house on the market for more than they expect or would accept. Base your offer on the home value, not the list price. If you see a home you like, be prepared to move fast and make the first offer the best offer because if the offer is too low you will miss out on the home you like. The more you know about the seller, the more you can tailor your offer. Does the seller already have a new place and want a quick closing? Is there a divorce involved? Does the seller not have a new place and therefore would prefer a longer closing or even a rent-back agreement? Ask a lot of questions of the listing agent and the seller, the more you know about the seller, the better strategy you can put together. The deal is ‘If you got a good property that meets your needs. If you get it, then you win.

Home Inspection: It’s certainly acceptable to ask for a credit if the inspection reveals major problems. But in a tight market, you may not get it. These days, it’s unlikely that a seller will make significant repairs, and you’re better off asking for a credit at closing so you can hire your own contractors. In some hot markets, prospective buyers do an inspection before making the offer so they can submit an offer with fewer contingencies.

Best Winter Fishing Destinations in California: California winter fishing hot spots that offer moderate temperatures, smaller crowds and the chance to get away and enjoy the great outdoors while you await warmer weather. Trinity River: Stretching from Lewiston Dam to the Klamath River at Weitchpec, the 110-mile long Trinity River is one of most well-known steelhead streams on the West Coast. This incredibly scenic river is known to average steelhead in the four- to eight-pound range. – Lower Sacramento River: Ideal spots include the 16-mile stretch between Redding and Anderson and the 30 miles of ideal fly fishing toward Red Bluff. – Southern California Lake: Lake Perris in Riverside County and Lake Casitas in Ventura County are two locations worth visiting from November to February, as it is a prime time of year to catch bass along with early spring. – Eastern Sierra: In Bishop County, the three miles south of the Pleasant Valley Reservoir on the downstream of the Owens River feature wild brown trout and plenty of rainbow trout for fly fishing enthusiasts in designated wild trout water. Other popular year-round spots include Hot Creek and Upper Owens River in Mono County, located in the high mountains near the beautiful Mammoth Lakes. – California Delta: In close proximity to Sacramento, Stockton and San Francisco, this 1,000-mile waterway is formed by the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and lies east of the Suisun Bay in a truly unique location. – Pier Fishing: While the numbers of fish will be decreased, you'll still have a good chance to catch surfperch, pileperch, rubberlip, walleyes and maybe even a halibut. Inshore areas will probably be your best bet, as barred surfperch tend to congregate near the surf in large numbers from December to March. Larger halibut can sometimes be snagged near the pier too, though there won't be as many up for grabs.


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Deed Restrictions:Deed restrictions aren't HOA rules. Deed restrictions are difficult to change. Usually it takes a judicial ruling, not just community disagreement, to invalidate them. In other worlds, a property's use can be limited by both deed and HOA restrictions. Investigate all restrictions before buying. The real estate agent and title company can help determine if the ruling body still exists or is actively enforcing the rules, an important piece of information to know before you buy. You may not want the hassle of begging enforcing groups or judges to allow you to build a work shed or park your boat in the driveway. Some common deed restrictions can cover the following:

  • Number of bedrooms (an attempt to avoid overwhelming sewer and septic tank capacity)
  • Building height, width, and siting (to prevent obstructing views, especially in scenic and vacation areas)
  • Number of vehicles allowed in the driveway or in front of the house, intended to keep the neighborhood from looking cluttered and junky
  • Type of vehicles allowed in the driveway, like motor homes, boats, and motorcycles
  • Type of fencing allowed (e.g., chain-link fences or very high privacy fences might be restricted)
  • Type and number of trees you can remove from the property (some regulations protect a percentage of trees on a lot, which may have been put in place years ago by neighboring farmers and still are attached to the land)
  • Style, color, and construction materials used in a renovation (an attempt to limit architectural variations in a neighborhood)
  • Pools, sheds, detached workshops, and extra garages can be forbidden or restricted
  • Use of your home as a business (to prevent a lot of strangers from coming and going)
  • Types of animals allowed on the property (many deeds restrict livestock, like chickens and goats; some also restrict breeds and number of pets)

Sales Restrictions: Deed restrictions aren't HOA rules. Deed restrictions are difficult to change. Usually it takes a judicial ruling

  • Court Approval Required: The court must approve any offer prior to a transfer of ownership. Generally, court approval is required if there's concern that the home's price is not representative of fair market value. Examples are bankruptcy sales, probate sales, and guardianship sales.
  • Deed Restricted Program: There is a written agreement that limits the use or activities that may occur on this subdivision of property. These restrictions appear in the records of the county in which the property is located. They are private agreements and are binding upon every owner in a subdivision. All future owners become a party to these agreements when they purchase.
  • Estate: The seller is a representative of the heirs of someone who has died. If the owner died without naming an heir, an estate sale is called a probate sale.
  • HAP (Home Assistance Program): HAP is a military program that assists eligible veterans when their home declines in value due to a nearby base closure.
  • Housing & Urban Development: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is selling the home.
  • Need Short Sale & No Lender Knowledge: A short sale would be necessary to sell the property, as the property is worth less than the amount owed to the bank. In addition, the bank has not yet been told the owner is seeking a short sale.
  • None Known: The owner is not aware of any sales restrictions on the property. This is the most common situation. The buyer must call the selling to learn what it is.
  • Notice of Default Filed - Foreclosure Pending: The bank is actively in the process of taking the property back from the owner.
  • Pre-Short Sale Package Submitted to Lender: A short sale would be necessary to sell the property, as the property is worth less than the amount owed to the bank. In addition, the owner has requested the lender's approval of the short sale.
  • Probate Subject to Overbid: The homeowner died without an heir and a court has appointed someone to sell the home. After the estate accepts a price, the sale must be court-approved. At the hearing to approve the sale, other potential buyers may bid over the accepted price.
  • Short Sale Approved: The lender approved the homeowner's request to sell their property at an amount below what is owed to the lender.
  • REO: This phrase means the lender is selling the property after an unsuccessful attempt to sell at the foreclosure auction. In most cases, the property failed to sell at the foreclosure auction because the owed to lenders is more than the property is worth.

Down Payment and Mortgage Options: There are lots of mortgage options out there, each with its own combination of pros and cons. Making a higher down payment will mean having a lower monthly mortgage payment. Normally, the smallest mortgage payment is a 30-year fixed mortgage. But a larger monthly payments gets a lower interest rate with a 20-year or 15-year fixed loan. Adjustable-rate mortgage is riskier but guarantees a low interest rate for the first few years. In addition to the down payment, borrowers are often responsible for origination fees, mortgage insurance and appraisal fees. As such, conventional loans tend to have a higher out-of-pocket cost at closing than other types of mortgage loans.

  • Conventional mortgages often meet the down payment and income requirements set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and they often conform to the loan limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA). Conventional loan borrowers who put at least 20% down don’t have to pay for mortgage insurance, which is typically required with lower down payments or government-backed loans. In addition, with a conventional loan, you can cancel your mortgage insurance when the principal loan balance drops to 78% of the home’s value. FHA loans charge mortgage insurance premiums for the life of the loan. Conventional loans are an excellent option for borrowers with strong credit who can contribute a down payment of at least 3%, or perhaps quite a bit more.
  • Conventional Conforming: Conforming loans follow the guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-controlled companies that provide money for the U.S. housing market. The most well-known rule has to do with the size of the loan. In 2020, the conforming loan limit for single-family homes in most of the continental U.S. is $510,400. Higher-cost areas, such as Hawaii and Alaska, have higher limits up to $765,600 for single-family homes.
  • Conventional Nonconforming: Nonconforming loans, often called jumbo loans, are for borrowers who don’t qualify for a conforming loan because the amount is higher than the conforming limit for the area. Because they don’t conform to the guidelines, jumbo loans are usually harder to sell on the secondary market (when lenders sell their loans to other institutions), making them less attractive to lenders. And the higher amount of money involved also means more risk for the lender. Nonconforming loans include those made to borrowers with poor credit, high debt or recent bankruptcy, or on homes with a high loan-to-value ratio, usually up to 90% for a conforming loan.
  • FHA Loan: Loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA loans, aim to make buying homes more affordable for low- to middle-income families, with relaxed lending standards, down payments as low as 3.5% and competitive rates for borrowers with a credit score of 580 or higher, FHA loans are popular among first-time home buyers who have little savings or credit challenges. An FHA home loan can be used to buy or refinance single-family houses, two- to four-unit multifamily homes, condominiums and certain manufactured and mobile homes. Specific types of FHA loans can also be used for new construction or for renovating an existing home. It's easier to qualify for an FHA loan than for a conventional loan, which is a mortgage that isn't insured or guaranteed by the federal government. FHA loans allow for lower credit scores than conventional loans and, in some cases, lower monthly mortgage insurance payments. FHA rules are more liberal regarding gifts of down payment money from family, employers or charitable organizations. FHA loans may involve closing costs that aren't required by conventional loans. The property you're trying to buy with an FHA loan, whether it's a house, a condo, a manufactured home or a multifamily home, has to meet FHA minimum property requirements. The FHA requires an appraisal that's separate (and different from) a home inspection. They want to be sure the home is a good investment — in other words, worth what you're paying for it — and ensure that it meets basic safety and livability standards. FHA mortgage insurance is built into every loan. When you get an FHA mortgage, you'll make an upfront mortgage insurance payment (which can be rolled into the total amount of the loan), and make monthly payments thereafter. If you start with a down payment of less than 10%, you'll continue to pay mortgage insurance for the life of the loan. Those with 10% down payments will pay FHA mortgage insurance for 11 years.


Home Title: A property’s title is the bundle of rights that dictates who has legal or equitable interest in the property. In real estate, a document called a “deed” records a property’s title, and the transfer of that title between two parties or individuals. The municipal clerk’s office typically keeps a copy of deeds for all properties in its jurisdiction. When purchase a home, a title company conducts a title search and makes sure that the seller is the sole owner of the home and no one else has any legal claim to or against the property. Lenders often require borrowers to purchase lender’s title insurance, which protects the lender against loss for the loan amount if someone has a claim against the property. Homebuyers are strongly encouraged (but not required) to purchase additional owner’s title insurance, which protects their investment if there are legal challenges to ownership down the road.

How to Title Your Home? Title laws vary from state to state. Below are the different ways to hold a title.

  • Sole Ownership: A property with a sole ownership title is in the name of one person. It's best for single people living alone or the spouse who is purchasing a property as an investment.
  • In A Living Trust: A trust (sự uỷ thác) allows owner (the trustee, người được uỷ thác trông nom) to pass assets such as property to his/her beneficiary after his/her death without going through probate; to avoid the costly and lengthy probate process at death. Any income that is earned from trust assets is reported on the settlor's (người chuyển nhượng gia tài) individual income tax return. Additionally, living trusts do not provide any advantages when it comes to tax planning. When a person dies, a new taxpayer is created out of the probate (thủ tục chứng thực một di chúc) estate (di sản). It's best for anyone who wants total control over what happens to their interest in a property after their death. Owner will need to hire a lawyer in order to draw up the trust, but he/she could save his/her heirs any estate taxes and court fees associated with probate. Plus, the terms of a trust are typically kept private and out of the public record. Putting property into a revocable living trust (huỷ bỏ di chúc) doesn't protect it from creditors. If the owner have a debt he/she can't pay, creditors can place a lien on trust property – and if he/she owe the government, it can place a tax lien on trust assets (tài sản). An irrevocable (không thể huỷ bỏ) trust offers better protection, but it still isn't lien-proof.
  • Joint Tenancy with the Right Of Survivorship: Couples purchasing a property together, if one person dies, the other gets full ownership of the property without it passing through probate. They simply have to file an affidavit affirming that the title holder has died, along with a death certificate. There are also some cases in which you might not want joint tenancy, such as if one spouse has credit issues or works in a high-liability occupation. In those cases, creditors or litigants could potentially lay claim to the property if it’s held in joint tenancy. Couples with one spouse in a second marriage or with children from a previous relationship might also want to avoid joint tenancy, if a parent would prefer their interest in the property goes to the beneficiaries of their estate, instead of their current partner.

The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams. We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.