Go to Top

Homeownership

How to Get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan

By Tali Wee Many homebuyers think there’s no difference between mortgage pre-qualification and mortgage pre-approval. But the difference can mean getting a home or missing the opportunity. Pre-Qualification A pre-qualification doesn’t mean you’ve secured financing. It means you’ve had a short conversation with a loan officer about your estimated purchase price, down payment, income, debts, and credit score. Then they give you a feel for what your rates and monthly …Read More

Credit Counselor Nitzsche: Once Helped, Now He Helps

By Cliff Goldstein Like a lot of young adults, Thomas Nitzsche was able to get approved for several credits cards with high spending limits when he was in his early 20s. And like a lot of people, Nitzsche soon found himself buried under a mountain of debt. “I always maintained good credit, but I was facing about $10,000 in combined debt,” Nitzsche says of that stressful period a decade ago. …Read More

Tips for Renting a Home When Your Credit is Poor

By Stacy Johnson If you’ve ever found yourself in search of a new place to live and your credit is less than perfect, you probably know it’s not easy. It may be especially difficult right now, because in many U.S. cities, rental properties are in short supply, and demand is high. A tight market generally means the qualification criteria will be more stringent to weed out applicants. But there are ways to persuade landlords …Read More

Pros and Cons of Reverse Mortgages

By Jason Alderman Over the last decade, reverse mortgages have been aggressively pitched in TV ads as an easy way for seniors to cash in their home equity to pay for living expenses. However, for many, improper use of the product – such as pulling all their cash out at one time – has led to significant financial problems later, including foreclosure. In actuality, there are some cases where reverse …Read More

How to Avoid Overpaying for Specialized Home Features

By Tali Wee Nearly everyone has a vision of their future dream homes, possibly including wraparound porches, walk-in closets, marble countertops or hardwood floors. When house hunters shop for homes, their emotional attachments to these grandiose ideals can create irrational judgments of fair property values. For instance, a buyer who envisioned owning a home with a vast patio and heated pool might offer thousands of dollars more than the property’s …Read More

Four Financial Indicators that Renters Are Ready to Buy

By Tali Wee  Deciding whether it’s the right time to transition from renting to buying is a major life decision. Here are four pointers for renters to determine if their finances and lifestyles are aligned to buy homes. Steady Income Lenders prefer borrowers with at least two years consistent employment to demonstrate responsibility and reliable income to reduce risk of default. First-time buyers with erratic work histories should begin holding …Read More

Why Are Good Faith Estimates Important for Buyers?

By Tali Wee The home buying process is complex for first-time buyers – full of acronyms, fees, bids, and deadlines. Because homes are commonly the most expensive purchases of buyers’ lives, it’s critical to clearly budget costs that affect finances for potentially the next 30 years. The primary costs buyers must calculate are one-time down payments, closing costs, and monthly mortgage charges. The larger the down payment, the less buyers …Read More

4 Considerations Before Buying into an HOA

By Tali Wee  Homebuyers are inundated with countless property assessments and inspections during their buying processes, but many overlook thorough evaluation of homeowners associations (HOA). In certain communities, homeowners are required to join HOAs and pay monthly fees as membership. Typically, community members govern their HOAs, setting community guidelines, managing disturbances, solving safety concerns, and creating new rules to maintain satisfactory curb appeal for all properties within the community. HOAs hold …Read More

Single Mom Overcomes Obstaclesto Provide Home for Son with Down Syndrome

By Gail Cunningham National Homeownership Month is the ideal time to remind Americans that owning a home represents much more than a mortgage. Tia Early, the NFCC Professional Achievement and Counseling Excellence (PACE) Housing Client of the Year, is the picture of what a mother will do to provide a home for her son, redefining perseverance along the way. Tia Early is no stranger to tackling tough situations and making …Read More

Don’t Have 20 Percent to Put Down?
Not a Problem.

By Chris Birk The days of scraping together a 20 percent down payment are mostly gone among today’s homebuyers, and it’s unclear if they’ll return. The average homebuyer puts down 16 percent of the purchase price, a 9.4 percent drop since May 2011, according to LendingTree. But it’s certainly possible for prospective buyers to lock into a loan with far less cash at the ready. Some housing observers have made the case …Read More