homebuying tips - Articles

Homebuying Factors that Mortgage Calculators Miss

ShutterstockThere's more to affording a home than figuring a loan payment. By Christine DiGangi If you're thinking about buying a home, you've probably used -- or at least heard of -- a mortgage calculator. These nifty tools can help you figure out the price range of homes you may be able to afford and estimate your... Continue Reading »

Most U.S. Homes Now Affordable for Average Buyers

Zillow By Cory Hopkins The majority of homes nationwide are more affordable now than they were in the years leading up to the start of the housing bubble, with homebuyers currently spending a smaller share of their incomes on a mortgage than they have historically. Nationwide, roughly two-thirds (66.4 percent) of... Continue Reading »

Expect Home Prices to Keep Rising, but Not So Fast

ShutterstockHouses may be getting more expensive, but interest rates remain historically low. By Christine DiGangi Home prices increased 12.2 percent from February 2013 to February 2014, marking the 24th consecutive month of year-over-year growth, according to the most recent CoreLogic Home Price Index Report. That... Continue Reading »

Find Your Dream Home by First Discovering Your Needs

ShutterstockIt really helps to know what your "dream house" looks like. By Mary Boone You've been pre-approved and know what you can afford, but the hunt for your dream home is stalled because you don't know what that "dream" looks like. Before you visit another open house, sit down and make a list of your needs and... Continue Reading »

Homebuying: 4 Must-Do's Before You Even Start Shopping

ShutterstockGetting your financial house in order before homebuying is now a must. For home shoppers, looking at homes and imagining living there is the best part of the process. But like a child who must eat their vegetables before getting dessert, first-time homebuyers have a lot of work to do before making a bid on a... Continue Reading »

Town Houses That Don't Compromise on Space

ZillowThe master suite of this three-bedroom town house has a vaulted ceiling and a balcony. By Sharona Ott Town houses are good "in-between" types of homes for those looking for a lifestyle that is: Not too big and maintenance-heavy like single-family homes, but not too small and prone to many people living in shared... Continue Reading »

Homebuying: How to Choose Between New or Existing Dwellings

Shutterstock By AJ Smith When it comes time to stop renting and you are ready to own a home, most people have to decide whether to buy a new home or an existing one. Here's what to consider as you make your decision. Brand New The smell of new house may not be as popular as the smell of new car, but there are some... Continue Reading »

Top 10 Buyer's and Seller's Markets in the U.S.

Zillow As the spring home shopping season heats up, buyers and sellers nationwide can expect very different experiences when it comes to negotiating power. Zillow took a look at recent data to determine markets where sellers have the power and those where buyers are in control. (View the full chart below.) Our analysis... Continue Reading »

Mid-Priced Homes for Sale in Top Buyer's Markets

Zillow By Sharona Ott Looking at homes in a buyer's market? You're in luck. In buyer's markets, homes stay on the market longer, price cuts occur more frequently and homes are sold for less relative to their listing price, giving buyers more negotiating power. Zillow today announced the top markets for buyers and... Continue Reading »

City Offers $200,000 Loans to Middle-Class Homebuyers

Jeff Chiu/The Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco will now lend as much as $200,000 to some homebuyers toward a down payment on their first house or condominium. Mayor Ed Lee's decision to double the previous limit of $100,000 was intended to help middle-class residents who have been hit hard by the housing... Continue Reading »

Saving for a Home: How Much Is Enough?

Shutterstock By Chris Birk It's easy to get caught up in credit scores when considering a home purchase. But as lenders continue to loosen requirements, the need to have money in the bank doesn't get any less acute. Getting prescriptive about how much you need in savings to satisfy a mortgage lender is tough business.... Continue Reading »

Ohio Tops List of Places Where Homebuying Beats Renting

Zillow By Geoff Williams When Kathleen Quinn and her husband recently moved from New York City to the Cleveland area, they never even considered renting. Instead, they bought a $293,000 house in the suburb of Avon and could not be happier. "I was done with watching my money fly out the door to a landlord and not... Continue Reading »

5 Features That Can Spike Insurance Costs

Shutterstock By Kelly McMurtie at HomeInsurance.com When shopping for a new home, some of the same features that lure you in could end up costing you extra in insurance premiums. If you're like the many buyers who wait until after going into contract to get insurance quotes on a property, you could be faced with some... Continue Reading »

Be Alert to Today's Hidden Costs of Homebuying

Shutterstock By Geoff Williams You're looking for a house and see the perfect listing. It has a big number on it. For simplicity's sake, say $200,000. If you're like most prospective homeowners, you think you will soon be talking to a lender and getting a loan for this amount. But as veteran homebuyers already know, you... Continue Reading »

How a Condo Can Be a Cost-Saver

Shutterstock By Scott Sheldon Condominiums make an affordable alternative to purchasing a single-family home. As prices continue to rise in many markets, purchasing a lower-priced condo makes for an attractive choice in pursuing homeownership. Important Lending Terms for Condo Buyers: Buying a condo is different than... Continue Reading »

How Good Faith Estimates Help You Shop Mortgages

By AJ Smith When buying your first home, you'll have lots of lingo to get caught up on quickly. Understanding the process can help limit the surprises during what is likely the biggest purchase you have ever made in your life. A good faith estimate can help. A good faith estimate approximates the final cost of completing... Continue Reading »

If Your Mortgage Payment Went Up, Here's Probably Why

Flickr By Arthur Murray Freaked out because your mortgage payment has increased? Before you write that next mortgage check, let's investigate what's going on with the payment. The increase could come from a number of factors and there may be something you can do about it besides paying more each month. Many lenders... Continue Reading »

How 1% in Mortgage Interest Really Adds Up

Zillow By Erin Lantz If you are shopping for a new home, it's equally important to shop around for the best mortgage rate, too. Rates can vary greatly between lenders and even seemingly small differences can end up saving -- or costing you -- a lot of money over time. Explore your options by comparing personalized... Continue Reading »

How to Know If a Neighborhood Is Gentrifying

Getty Images/Flickr RF By Donna Fuscaldo Bargains may be few and far between in the current real estate market, but buyers can get a deal if they are willing to purchase a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood. But discovering a neighborhood with potential can be tricky. "When you buy in an up-and-coming neighborhood,... Continue Reading »

For Sale: 2,000-Square-Foot Homes Under $200,000

Zillow By Sharona Ott Finding the perfect home on a budget can feel impossible. Choosing between a spacious fixer-upper and a tiny furnished apartment may seem hard. But you don't always have to choose between quality and quantity. For less than $100 per square foot, these homes offer the best of both worlds. Take a... Continue Reading »

Homebuyers Gaining Bargaining Power as Inventory Increases

Shutterstock By Camille Salama Home values saw their smallest monthly increase since May 2012, up just 0.2 percent in January from December according to the latest Zillow Real Estate Market Reports. Year-over-year, U.S. home values rose 6.3 percent in January, down from peak gains of 7.1 percent in August 2013. This... Continue Reading »

Homebuyers Will See Less Competition This Spring, Experts Say

Shutterstock By Cory Hopkins Could homebuyers have less competition and an easier time to find the home of their dreams as the home shopping season begins to heat up? The answer is yes. According to data from the latest Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which surveyed 110 economists, real estate experts and... Continue Reading »

Buy Another Home Before You Sell Your Present One?

Shutterstock By Teresa Mears Now that the real estate market is climbing out of the doldrums (or now that your family has grown by a member or even a few), you may be ready to buy a new home. But do you sell your old home first? Or do you buy and then sell? "It's always a tough choice to make," says Anthony Vitale,... Continue Reading »

When to 'Break Up' With a Real Estate Agent

Shutterstock By Brendon DeSimone The relationship with your real estate agent -- whether buying or selling a home -- is more complicated than most business relationships. For starters, it's rare that one of your employees, your boss or a business associate would come into your kitchen to talk shop. Also, a real estate... Continue Reading »

VA Loans: 5 Common Hurdles, and How to Clear Them

Shutterstock By Samantha Reeves Many homebuyers and agents shy away from the Department of Veterans Affairs home loan program for fear that the VA loan process is too difficult or restrictions are too numerous. But if you're a veteran in search of a mortgage, you don't have to let these misconceptions drive you away from... Continue Reading »

When Homebuyers Insist on Spending the Night

Shutterstock By Aaron Crowe One of the fun parts of searching for a home to buy is visualizing living in it. Will your furniture fit? Is the kitchen big enough for all of your kids? Imagining your belongings and your family living in the home can make the buying decision easier. When checking out a house, some buyers... Continue Reading »

Real Estate 2014: The New Wisdom

Shutterstock By Beth Pinsker When the housing bubble burst, a damage-control mentality replaced decades of conventional real estate wisdom. With the housing market now rebounding, there is still uncertainty. The old rules -- such as getting a fixed-rate mortgage and refinancing when you can -- don't apply. But the... Continue Reading »

How to Know If You Own the Land Under Your Home

Shutterstock By Brendon DeSimone When you buy a home, you probably assume that you own everything in and around it within the property lines. But in some parts of the country, homeowners are discovering the property they're buying does not fully include the land beneath it. For example, in Tampa Bay, Fla., a family... Continue Reading »

Mortgage Lenders Are Showing Some Give on Credit Scores

Shutterstock By Christin DiGangi Credit scores are among the many things lenders review when you apply for a mortgage, because scores are designed to predict how likely you are to meet your debt obligations. After the mortgage crisis, lenders were hesitant to take on risky borrowers, and at the end of 2012, the average... Continue Reading »

How Housing Inventory Threatens Market Recovery

FOX Business Network By Kathryn Buschman Vasel The housing market has been on a steady recovery, but there is one major obstacle that could potentially slow down its momentum: tight inventory. "The lack of inventory is a big obstacle for the housing market right now," says Jed Smith, managing director of quantitative... Continue Reading »

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