Understanding the Real Estate Process from A – Z – A Buyer’s Guide to Real Estate – Part 15
This is the fifteenth and final post of a series of posts for buyers (especially first-time buyers) in an FAQ format that I hope will help would be buyers better understand the real estate process that they are about to go through. This is a follow-on series to the posts for real estate sellers.
FAQ - What are some other topics that you may have Questions about?
This post is mostly links to interesting articles and posts on other sites about the topics that weren’t covered in the first 14 posts. The real estate process is never the same twice and not all of these topics would come up in a typical purchase; but they do come up.
Where can I get help with my down payment? There is a State Government program available in Michigan (there are probably similar programs in other states) under MSHDA (Michigan State Housing and Development Authority). This response is from their site.
Is there any way to buy a house these days for zero down? - There are at least two programs available in Michigan in which you might qualify for a zero-down loan the USDA Rural Development Program and under your VA Benefits. There are special VA programs for disabled vets.
PMI – What is it and do I have to have it? From Bankrate.com Under FHA, VA and USDA this would be called MIP and here’s an article on MIP and how to cancel it. PMI (nee MIP) is a fact of life for most home buyers who cannot afford a 20% down payment. PMI is basically an insurance policy for the lender, in case you default early in the loan period. PMI adds no value for you, so the faster that you can get it off the loan the better.
Land Contracts – What are they – good article by Elizabeth Winetraub. Land contracts offer an alternative for buying an house when your credit score won’t justify a mortgage, even though you may have steady employment and can otherwise afford the monthly payments.
Rent-to-Own – What’s that all about – from the How stuff Works site. Rent to is another way to buy a house if you can’t afford a down payment right now. It isn’t real popular with sellers, but you may find some who just want to get out from under their monthly mortgage payments who will consider this approach.
Tips for Unmarried Couples Buying a Home – it’s not the same and it’s not playing house. This is a somewhat touchy subject, as are all things that mix love and money. Make sure that you protect your interests if you try to buy a house with anyone that you are not married to at the time.
Advice for Military Service Members about Home Buying from Veterans United – Good advice and tips on the programs for veterans who are trying to buy a house.
Fair Housing Act – The HUD site that explains what your rights are under the Fair Housing Act
Home Warranties - Do I need One? – From Angies’ List – are they worthwhile?
Wells and Septics – I’ve never had that before, what should I know about them? – a good read on the topic from the Barrington Area Council of Governments
Where can I find a map of the lake that the home I’m considering buying is on? – In Michigan the DNR maintains these maps of inland lakes
A Real Estate Glossary – this is a Web site that seems to have a relatively complete glossary of real estate and mortgage terminology
Home Buying Articles and Advice – the same Web site as the for the glossary above has a good collection of articles on home buying to read
Home remodeling – How much is too much? – from Yahoo’s Finance section
Divorce and Real Estate – a link to DivorceNet.com – It is not easy or straightforward sometimes to get out from under the obligations that live on after a divorce. There is lots of good advice at this site.
Who owns the fence - an interesting article on the issue of shared fences
Water Damage and Mold - a link to a great informational site dealing with those two issues.
What should I know about asbestos? Asbestos was used somewhere in some way in most homes built before the 1960’s. Most of the time is was used as an insulator, in the heating systems or is materials used as wall and attic insulation. It was also used to make floor tiles and siding for homes. Asbestos is a leading cause of cancer and you may end up running in to it in a home modernization project. Here is sa good site to do some research on before you try tackling asbestos - https://www.mesotheliomalawyercenter.org/asbestos/home-repair-remodeling/
Thanks for taking the time to read through this series of posts. It is somewhat presumptuous of me to say that I’ve covered the real estate process from A to Z; so, if f you have questions that were not covered here, please email me and ask your questions. I’ll try to answer and you’ll be helping not only yourself, but others who probably are hitting the same things that you are.