Buying a Home

How First-Time Homebuyers Can Negotiate Serious Savings

First-time homebuyers are taking their power back.

As the housing market continues to cool, savvy buyers are seizing the opportunity to save themselves some hard-earned cash. They’re bringing contingencies back, asking sellers to make costly repairs, and even submitting offers for less than the asking price of a home. Sellers, eager to go under contract, are not only giving these offers serous consideration, they’re also increasingly coming to the bargaining table.

Make no mistake: It’s still a seller’s market. Home prices are ratcheting up as there are far more buyers searching for homes than there are properties to go around.

However, higher mortgage rates combined with record-high home prices have doused the frenzy in the housing market. As many first-time...

Priced Out of Single-Family Homes? Maybe a Condo is Your Best Choice.

Rising mortgage rates mean that millions of homebuyers have been shut out of the market. That, coupled with home prices that are currently up 14.2% compared with last year, means many buyers are simply giving up on their dream of owning a home right now. But what if you don't want to?

Many buyers are now considering another option for homeownership: condominiums.

These privately owned units within a largr complex actually proved more affordable than single-family homes in 72.5% of U.S. counties in 2021.

Buying a condo vs. a single-family home

The process of buying a condo differs from that of a single-family home in a few key ways.

One menaninful difference is that many condominium homes cannoy be purchased using government-backed loans such as Federal Housing Administration loans or...

The 4 Most Costly Dangers of Buying a Foreclosure - and How To Avoid Them

Are you considering buying a foreclosed home, or a home that has been repossessed by a mortgage lender? If so, you're not alone. Purchases of foreclosed homes are up more than 150%, according to a recent 2022 U.S. foreclosure report.

Many homebuyers are tempted to buy a foreclosure because it’s seen as a way to essentially get a great home at a bargain price. But the process is more complicated than it may appear—and that seemingly cut-rate deal may not save you as much money as you anticipated.

Here’s the 411 on buying a foreclosure, what the purchase entails, and the risks you should watch out for so you don’t end up with a money pit on your hands.

How to find...

6 Telltale Signs You're looking at a Cheaply Flipped Bathroom

A well-designed bathroom in a newly renovated home can woo just about any buyer. It's hard not to fall for a bathroom outfitted with a new toilet, tub, and tile because - in most instances, it is safe to assume that your bathroom will be fully functional and free of problems for years to come.

But behind those flawless new fixtures and finishes may be hiding ugly truths about the quality of the bathroom renovation. Worst case scenario? You’re looking at a cheap flip.

A cheaply flipped bathroom is usually the result of hasty workmanship or a money-saving strategy from cash-strapped owners. In the business of home flipping, the quicker you can get the property remodeled and sold, the more successful you’ll be. But renovations take time, and some bathroom updates such as plumbing, painting, and tile laying can’t...

What Is a Good Credit Score to Buy a Home?

If you're hoping to buy a home with a conventional mortgage, one number you’ll want to get to know well is your credit score. Also called a credit rating or FICO score, this three-digit number is a numerical representation of your credit report, which outlines your history of paying off debts.

Why does your minimum credit score matter? Because when you apply for a mortgage to buy a home, lenders want some reassurance a borrower will repay them later! One way they assess this is to check your creditworthiness by scrutinizing your credit report and score carefully. A high score proves you have reliably paid off past debts, whether they’re from a credit card or other type of loan.

In short, your credit score matters, especially in real estate. This brings us to an important question:...

5 Signs a Home You Hope To Buy Is Overpriced

Here’s a not-so-fun fact for homebuyers: Real estate prices have been rising by double-digit percentages for 36 straight weeks, currently clocking in at a national median of $449,000.

That’s the bad news, but here’s the good: There are several clear signs that the raging seller’s market we’ve experienced over the past few years has reached its peak and is on the decline - and home prices may soon follow suit.

Even though asking prices are still climbing, recent data shows that more sellers overreached what buyers were willing to pay, and had to reduce their asking price.

The thing is, many home sellers haven’t gotten the memo yet. Or they have, but are in denial, hanging on to some long-shot hope that their property may still...

Your Parents Want To Help You Buy a House? Ensure This Dream Come True Doesn't Turn Into a Nightmare

Wow-- your parents want to help bankroll your first house!

Maybe you won't have to save for a down payment or face mortgage payments for the next 30 years. Sounds fantastic, right?

Yes and no. We all know that no matter how close you are with your family, sometimes relationships can get complicated - espically if you add money to the mix.

What if your parents don't like your version of a dream home? Accepting a generous gift will naturally come with some strings attacked, but there is still a way to set boundaries.

Here's how to gratefully accept financial aid while maintaing a good relationship before, during, and after you buy a home.

How parents help their kids

Many parents happily hand over cash to assist their children with buying their first home. And their kids are usually glad to take it.


Homes Haven't Been This Unaffordable Since 1989

The average monthly mortgage payment jumped 54% year over year in June while the media household income rose only 5.8%, according to the NAR's Housing Affordability Index. As home affordability weakened and the median home price shot to a record $413,800 in June, NAR's index fell to its lowest reading in 33 years. Home prices have increased at a pace that far exceeds wage gains, especially for low- and middle-income workers.

Housing affordability "dramatically tumbled" in the second quarter amid rising mortgage rates and climbing home prices, NAR data shows. Monthly mortgage payments on a typical existing single-damily home surged by nearly a third compared to the first quarter and by half compared to a year earlier. The 30-year fixed-rate mortage has nearly doubled in that time. Although rates stabilixed somewhat this month, they...

Is the Market Changing? 4 New Realities of Buying a Home Today

The real estate market is changing, and fast. For two long years, we've been in a red-hot seller's market, where home sellers hot exactly what they wanted - high home prices, zero strings attached - and often much more.

Now, however, the pendulum is starting to swing back in buyers' favor. While it's nowhere near an official buyers' market, there are signs the market is cooling, sellers are no longer calling all the shots, and buyers have more roof for negotation than they have had in the past.

If you're considering looking for a home in this market, here's a closer to look at what to expect:

Old norm: Almost every market was red-hot

New norm: Some markets are cooling down

Potential homebuyers need to understand that all real estate is local. The national...

What Does 'Contingency' Mean in a Real Estate Listing

Every home sale is dependent upon certain contingencies. They can make or break a real estate sale, but what exactly is a contingent offer?

A contingency in a deal means there’s something the buyer has to do for the process to go forward, whether that’s getting approved for a loan or selling a property they own.

If the buyer is having trouble getting a mortgage, or the property appraisal is too low and the bank won’t increase the loan, or there’s some other problem with getting a mortgage, a contingency clause means that the contract can be broken with no penalty or loss of earnest money to the buyer or seller.

Some common contingencies that could delay a contract:

  • The buyer’s mortgage pre-approval is still pending
  • Buyer is waiting...