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CONTENTS Preface Introduction CHAPTER 1 - HOW DO I KNOW WHAT I WANT? 1. Should I Make a Wish List? What About a Reality Check? 2. How Do I Figure Out Where I Want To Live? 3. What Does "Location, Location, Location'' Really Mean? 4. How Long Do I Plan to Live in My Future Home? 5. What Are the Different Types of Homes? 6. Should I Buy A New Home or an Existing Home? 7. What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Home That Needs Renovation? And, What Do Brokers Mean By "Over-improved"? 8. NEW QUESTION: Should My First Home Be An Investment? CHAPTER 2 - HOW DO I LOOK FOR A HOME? 9. REFORMULATED QUESTION: How Do I Start My Search for the Home of My Dreams? Should I Look on the Internet? 10. What Is the Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a Real Estate Broker? What is a Realtor(r)? 11. How Do I Choose The Right Agent or Broker? 12. What is a Seller (or Conventional Broker)? What are His or Her Responsibilities to Me, the Buyer? 13. What is a Buyer Broker? What is an Exclusive Buyer Agent? Should I Use One? 14. What is a Dual Agent? What is a Transactional Agent? What is a Non-agent? 15. What Is the Typical Real Estate Commission? How Is It Split? 16. What Is a Discount Broker? When Should I Use One? 17. How Much Should My Broker Know About the Amount I Can Afford to Spend on a Home? 18. How Do I Know Whether My Broker Is Doing a Good Job? 19. How Can I Help in the Search for a Home If I Use a Broker? 20. How Should I Interpret the Home Description in the Local Newspaper or in Broker Listing Sheets? 21. NEW QUESTION: Now That I Can Shop for a Home on the Internet, or Buy From a Developer, Do I need an Agent? Can I Get A Better Deal If I Buy a House Without An Agent? 22. NEW QUESTION: What Do I Need To Know About Buying a House That's For Sale By Owner (FSBO)? CHAPTER 3 - How Do I Identify What I Need Versus What I Like in a Home? 23. How Do I Become Selective When Choosing a Home? How Do My Wish List and Reality Check Help Me? 24. When I Go to a Showing, What Should I Look For? 25. How Can I Remember Each Home When I've Seen So Many? 26. How Do I Know When It's Time for a Second Showing? 27. When Do I Know I've Found the Right House? CHAPTER 4 - How Do I Know What I Can Afford to Spend? 28. How Much Can I Afford? 29. How Much Will It Cost to Own and Maintain a Home? 30. What Are Assessments? Do All Town Houses, Condos, and Co-ops Have Them? CHAPTER 5 - Putting Together the Deal 31. How Do I Decide What to Offer for the Home? 32. How Do I Make an Offer? 33. What Goes into the Actual Offer to Purchase or Contract to Purchase? 34. What Is the Earnest Money (also known as the Good Faith Deposit)? Who Holds It? When Do I Get It Back? 35. When We Make an Offer, What Contingencies Should We Include? 36. What Is a Mortgage or Financing Contingency? 37. What Is the Inspection Contingency? 38. What Is the Attorney Approval or Attorney Rider? CHAPTER 6 - Negotiating the Deal 39. How Does the Negotiation Process Work? 40. How Do I Make a Counteroffer? 41. NEW QUESTION: What Do I Do in a Multiple Bid Situation? 42. What Is a Home Warranty? What Kind Can I Get for New Construction? What About a Previously Owned Home? 43. What Does the Contract Really Say and What Are My Obligations Under It? 44. Should I Hire a Real Estate Attorney? Should I Sign Anything Before My Attorney Reviews It? 45. How Do I Find a Real Estate Attorney? How Much Should He or She Charge Me? 46. Should I Close at the Beginning, Middle, or End of the Month? Why Does It Matter? 47. What Is Seller Disclosure? How Does It Affect Me? 48. Do I Need a Home Inspection? How Do I Find a Reputable Home Inspector? 49. Should I Test for Toxic Substances and Contaminated Water? 50. What If the Inspector Finds Something Wrong with the Home I Want to Buy? 51. What Do I Do if the Seller or Broker Has Misrepresented the Condition of the Home? CHAPTER 7 - Possession 52. What Is Possession? 53. What if the Seller Wants to Stay in the House after the Closing? 54. REVISED QUESTION: When Is the Right Time to Terminate the Contract? How do I do it? 55. What Is "Buyer's Remorse" and How Do I Cope with It? CHAPTER 8 - Financing Your Home 56. How much can I afford to spend on a home? 57. What Is a Mortgage? 58. How Do I Get Information on Mortgages? 59. Who Are the People Involved with Making the Loan? 60. How Do I Apply for a Loan? Should I Apply Online for a Mortgage? 61. What Kind of Documentation Will I Need for My Application? 62. What Types of Circumstances Might Foul Up My Loan Application? And How Can I Fix Them? 63. How Much of a Down Payment Will I Need to Buy My Home? Should I Put Down the Largest or Smallest Down Payment Possible? 64. NEW QUESTION: Should I Borrow From My 401(k) to Fund My Down Payment? 65. What Fees Are Associated with a Mortgage Application? What Lender's Fees Will I Be Charged for My Mortgage? 66. What Are Junk Fees? How Do I Avoid Them? 67. What Is Truth in Lending? 68. What Is the Annual Percentage Rate (APR)? 69. What Is a Good Faith Estimate? 70. COMBINED QUESTION: What Is a Real Estate Tax Escrow? What Is an Insurance Escrow? How Can I Avoid Setting Them Up? 71. What Should I Do to Make Sure the Mortgage Application Process Goes Smoothly? 72. How Do I Get The Best Loan At The Best Rate On The Best Terms? CHAPTER 9 - Playing the Mortgage Game 73. What Are the Different Types of Mortgages Available? How Do I Choose the Right Type for Me? 74. How Small a Down Payment Can I Make? Where Can I Find a Zero Down Loan? 75. RESTRUCTURED QUESTION: What Is Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)? How Can I Avoid Paying it? How Do I Get Rid of It? How Does Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Differ From Mortgage Insurance (FHA) and Mortgage/Credit Insurance? 76. REFORMULATED QUESTION: What Is an Assumable Mortgage? Are These Loans Still Available? 77. What Is a Fixed-Rate Mortgage? What Is an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)? 78. What Is a Two-Step Mortgage? What Is a Balloon Mortgage? 79. What Is an FHA Loan? What Is a VA Loan? 80. NEW QUESTION: What Is an Interest-Only Loan? Should I Get One? 81. NEW QUESTION: Should I Automatically Get a Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit When I Close? 82. RESTRUCTURED QUESTION: Are there other loan programs I should know about? 83. What Is Seller Financing? What is a Lease With An Option to Buy? 84. RESTRUCTURED QUESTION: What Loans Exist for Buyers With Mediocre or Poor Credit? Where Do I Get One? (sub-prime/b/c loans) 85. NEW QUESTION: What are Predatory Lenders? How do I spot one? 86. Why Are Some Lenders Willing To Give Me A Mortgage For 125 Percent Or 130 Percent Of The Home's Sales Price? 87. What if I'm Rejected for My Loan? CHAPTER 10 - Before You Close 88. When Should I Schedule My Preclosing Inspection? What Do I Do if I Discover Something Is Damaged or Missing? (When Should the Seller Move Out?) 89. What Exactly Is the Closing? Where Is It Held? 90. What Are My Closing Costs Likely to Be? 91. What Is a Title Search? What Is Title Insurance? Why Do I Need Them? 92. What Is RESPA? And What Does the HUD-1 Statement Look Like? 93. Will I Need Homeowner's Insurance? What Should It Cover? 94. How Should I Hold Title to My New Home? CHAPTER 11 - The Closing 95. Who Should Attend the Closing? What Should I Do if I Can't Be There? 96. What Are Prorations? 97. What Do I Need to Bring with Me to the Closing? What if Something Goes Wrong at the Closing? 98. What Should I Get from the Sellers at Closing? 99. How Does My Deed Get Recorded? 100. How Should I Prepare for the Move to My New Home? CHAPTER 12 - Happily Ever After Discovering Problems After You Close Adding Someone to Title After Closing How to Lighten Your Property Tax Load The Next House: Knowing When It's Time to Move On APPENDIX I: Top 10 Mistakes First-Time Buyers Make APPENDIX II: 5 Simple Things You Can Do to Make the Home-Buying Process Easier APPENDIX III: 10 Mistakes People Make When Buying New Construction APPENDIX IV: 10 Questions You Should Ask Your Mortgage Lender APPENDIX V: Contracts APPENDIX VI: General Resources APPENDIX VII: State-by-State Resource Guide Glossary of Real Estate Terms Every Home Buyer Should Know Alphabetical Listing of Websites Acknowledgments Index
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:
Residential real estate -- Purchasing.
House buying -- United States.
Residential real estate -- Purchasing -- United States.