Tag: AolOriginal

  • How to Buy a Home in Cash With No Mortgage

    How to Buy a Home in Cash With No Mortgage

    A record 33 percent of all home buyers in the U.S. pay in cash, according to the National Association of Realtors. How do these people come up with the loot to buy a home – often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars – without a bank loan? Well, some of them are investors and wealthy individuals... Continue Reading

  • The Rise and Fall of Fannie Mae: A Timeline

    The Rise and Fall of Fannie Mae: A Timeline

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in the news a lot this year. For starters, there was the presidential summit in August, to solicit ideas for what to do with the ailing government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs for short). That was followed by midterm-election wrangling over whether to replace the struggling... Continue Reading

  • Time to Refinance? 4 Questions to Ask

    Time to Refinance? 4 Questions to Ask

    Five years ago, New Jersey homeowner Bill Allard bought a house with a 30-year fixed mortgage at a rate of 5.75 percent. But with mortgage rates now below 5 percent, he's wondering if he should refinance his loan. "I could get a lower rate and my monthly payments will be less, but will I come out ahead in the... Continue Reading

  • Foreclosure Help: What a Housing Counselor Can Do

    Foreclosure Help: What a Housing Counselor Can Do

    In 2010 an estimated 4 million homes will be slapped with foreclosure notices, making it the worst year yet for foreclosures during the housing crisis. And without a strong economic recovery the numbers could continue to escalate, leaving more Americans unable to afford their homes. One way to turn back the... Continue Reading

  • Buying New Construction Homes, the Pros and Cons

    Buying New Construction Homes, the Pros and Cons

    With the available inventory of homes in today's market, you might want to take a look at "new construction", which is a new property being offered by a home builder. Wondering if one of these is right for you? Here are some pros and cons you should consider. Continue Reading

  • Home Inspections for Sellers: Prepping for the Sale

    Home Inspections for Sellers: Prepping for the Sale

    Video Transcript for Hearing Impaired A thorough home inspection is a critical step in the home-buying process, which is one reason that it's typically thought of as something the buyer has to do. There are, however, a few things that a seller can do to make the process smoother and ensure that a... Continue Reading

  • Can Fixer-Uppers Work for First-Timers?

    Can Fixer-Uppers Work for First-Timers?

    Video Transcript for Hearing Impaired Buying a first home is a complex process. Fortunately, in today's market there are ways to find a home that you can comfortably afford. One common way that buyers often find a good value is by buying a fixer-upper, which is basically an existing home that needs... Continue Reading

  • Home Improvement: Top Projects for Under $2,500

    Home Improvement: Top Projects for Under $2,500

    A price tag of $2,500 is in the sweet spot for many home improvement projects. It represents a little more than two weeks' salary for the average U.S. household. It's also about the amount of the average federal tax refund. Projects paid with Uncle Sam's givebacks may not be game-changers, but they can still... Continue Reading

  • Top Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent

    Top Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent

    After her home in Michigan's Upper Peninsula sat on the market for a year without an offer, Rita Gordon and her husband, Bill, were determined to hire a new real-estate agent. "The first time, our family and friends said, 'Go with this person.' We did no due diligence," says Gordon, who has since relocated to... Continue Reading

  • Mortgage Jargon in Simple Terms

    Mortgage Jargon in Simple Terms

    Obtaining a mortgage loan means dealing with a lot of paperwork, from the documents you have to submit to documents you have to read and sign. More often than not, you're dealing with terms and conditions on various mortgage types that may be so difficult to understand that you just want to pull out your hair.... Continue Reading

  • Common Mistakes Homebuyers Make

    Common Mistakes Homebuyers Make

    Video Transcript for Hearing Impaired Buying a home is a thrilling experience. But it can also be a complex one. The good news is that if you can avoid a few common mistakes, you should be able to prevent some headaches and find yourself enjoying your new home a lot sooner. Here are some common pitfalls... Continue Reading

  • Moving Cost: Ways to Budget Your Move

    Moving Cost: Ways to Budget Your Move

    Sharmaine R. has moved three times within Los Angeles in the past year and a half. In the three years before that, she moved five times -- including to and from another city. "I've learned that planning is key to keeping your moving costs where you want it to be," she says. Sharmaine has completed all types... Continue Reading

  • Inside Home Inspections: Tag Along With a Pro

    Inside Home Inspections: Tag Along With a Pro

    Video Transcript for Hearing Impaired Every house tells a story--if you know how to listen. Kenny Rhodes, a licensed home inspector for nearly 20 years, has a finely tuned ear for the messages a house is trying to send. That's why buyers hire him to give their potential new digs a thorough... Continue Reading

  • Home Improvement Mistakes: How to Avoid and Fix

    Home Improvement Mistakes: How to Avoid and Fix

    Alamy Home improvements can be like tattoos. Both are high-risk, high-reward decisions. And they both hinge on picking the right one the first time, because some hold up better than others. And if you make a mistake, both tattoos and home improvements can be darned expensive to remove. So, what are these... Continue Reading

  • Surprise Home Buying Wisdom

    Surprise Home Buying Wisdom

    It's not hard to get advice when you're in the market for a new home, but often real estate trends and quick tips get passed off as a gospel in this "historic" housing market. And there are a few -- let's call them inconvenient truths of home buying -- that you often won't hear because they don't apply to... Continue Reading

  • Home Inspections:  It Pays to Know What You're Buying

    Home Inspections: It Pays to Know What You're Buying

    Video Transcript for Hearing Impaired When buying a house, it's a very good idea to get a home inspection before you close your purchase and take possession of the home. It's not uncommon for a lender to include a home inspection as a condition in your purchase agreement. AOL Real Estate's... Continue Reading

  • Home Appraisals for Sellers

    Home Appraisals for Sellers

    When Chris M. decided to list his home in upstate New York and move closer to Manhattan to ease his wife's commute to her new job, he ran into a major hurdle: "There was no consensus among the agents we spoke with about what our house was worth," he said. The solution? Hire a local appraiser to handle the job of... Continue Reading

  • Moving With Kids: More Fun, Less Stress

    Moving With Kids: More Fun, Less Stress

    If moving is stressful for adults, imagine what it must be doing to your children! So if you're moving with kids, it's essential to consider how they feel. Our experts say the key to make moving with kids less stressful and more fun is communication and preparation. Joshua Becker, the blogger behind Becoming... Continue Reading

  • For Sale by Owner: Answer These 5 Questions First

    For Sale by Owner: Answer These 5 Questions First

    When John Ullman wanted to sell his Portland, Ore. home 20 years ago, he knew he was going to have trouble selling it through conventional channels. "My wife was a potter, and we had a kiln in the backyard," he recalled. "By anyone's standards, that's a liability." By anyone's standards except another potter.... Continue Reading

  • Save Water and Money in the Bathroom

    Save Water and Money in the Bathroom

    Can a woman's college dorm in Southern California hold a secret to your water-saving bathroom renovation? Yes, says Alexandra Bennett, sustainability coordinator at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Bennett is piloting a water-saving program at the college, which despite its proximity to the ocean... Continue Reading

  • Renters Insurance: Why You Need It

    Renters Insurance: Why You Need It

    When Stephen Slaybaugh returned to his two-bedroom apartment in Columbus, Ohio one evening after work, something was not right. "At first I thought my girlfriend had just left a bunch of things strewn about," he says. "Then as I walked through the apartment, there was stuff she obviously wouldn't have left... Continue Reading

  • Going Green in the Kitchen

    Going Green in the Kitchen

    Annette Thomson of Washington, D.C., wants to green up her kitchen remodeling project. "I want to replace old vinyl flooring and add Energy Star appliances," she says. "Is there anything else I can do?" Thomson is on the right track. Going green in the kitchen means replacing vinyl with more sustainable... Continue Reading

  • Real Estate Appraisals 101
  • How to Choose a Realtor

    How to Choose a Realtor

    Virginia Realtor Lon Crow has firm ideas on how homebuyers should choose a Realtor. And they don't involve calling the agent named at the bottom of a listing. "You have to find someone who will act on your behalf. A listing agent's not going to do that. A listing agent is going to try to get the price that, in... Continue Reading

  • Keep Cool for Less With Solar A/C

    Keep Cool for Less With Solar A/C

    Earth-conscious homeowners looking to keep cool this summer without breaking the carbon bank, listen up. As of late last month, LG introduced the world's first mass-marketed solar-assisted air conditioning unit and promoted it using sexy, mini-skirted models. Attaching a small solar panel to a traditional A/C... Continue Reading

  • What Works Now -- Smart Moves When Buying a Home

    What Works Now -- Smart Moves When Buying a Home

    Key Video Takeaways One thing's for sure - today's housing market is confusing. Each day consumers are bombarded with new information and it can be difficult to get a sense of what's important. Mixed in with statistics about waning home sales, we hear sound bytes like "historically low interest... Continue Reading

  • How Much Can You Afford?

    How Much Can You Afford?

    Key Video Takeaways Anu and Michael are young and their lives are still very much in transition. Michael is making his way through medical school -- and taking out a lot of student loans to do it. Anu is just starting her career, not making as much as she would like, and unsure how quickly her salary... Continue Reading

  • Buy or Rent? Which Is Right for You?

    Buy or Rent? Which Is Right for You?

    Should you buy that first home or remain a renter? It's a classic question made much more complicated by the housing market's recent crash. How do you know if you're ready? Will you be able to afford a mortgage, and all the fees associated with securing a loan and closing? And how can you tell if the local... Continue Reading

  • Closing Costs: How Much to Budget

    Closing Costs: How Much to Budget

    Key Video Takeaways Renada, a New Yorker ready to make the switch from renter to owner, thought she'd sailed through the home buying process. She was approved for a loan, found a condominium in Hell's Kitchen and signed a purchase agreement, all in a relatively short period of time. She expected... Continue Reading

  • How Much Down Payment Do You Need?

    How Much Down Payment Do You Need?

    Key Video Takeaways Evan, who hopes to buy a home one day, is getting conflicting information about how much of a down payment he'll need. Whether or not he has enough money might have an effect on when he'll be ready to purchase a home. He's heard that down payments can range from 5 percent to 20... Continue Reading