How Do You List a For-Sale-By-Owner, and More! – Cook’s Corner

by Steve CookAugust 18, 2017

Is it possible to purchase a home with no down payment?

Down Payment
Two government programs, the Veterans’ Affairs home loan program and the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Housing program, provide mortgages to eligible borrowers that require no down payment.

To qualify for a VA loan, you must be a veteran with at least 90 days active duty or a surviving spouse of an eligible veteran. You can find more information on qualifying for a VA loan on the VA website. To qualify for a USDA guaranteed home loan, you must live in a rural or semi-rural county and have an income that is lower than the local median income level. To see if you qualify, go to the USDA Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program.

Some state and local housing authorities offer some 2400 down payment assistance programs with low or no down payments. To find a program in your community, check out Down Payment Resource.

FHA now allows borrowers to use a gift to be used as a down payment, which is another way to get a zero down payment. Gifts are allowed from a family member or friend, the borrower’s employer or union, a charity, a government agency, or a nonprofit corporation or charity.

In partnerships with either Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, several commercial lenders have recently launched mortgages for borrowers with good or excellent credit ratings that require only one percent down. Most of these combine a grant from the lender equal to 2 percent of the loan amount, creating 3 percent equity and a loan with a 97 percent loan-to-value ratio. The grant is completely forgivable and doesn’t need to be repaid if the buyer moves or refinances. Several lenders have recently launched mortgages that offer a 3 percent grant with no down payment required by borrowers.

Note that zero and low down payment mortgages, except VA, usually require the borrower to take out mortgage insurance.

How do you list a for-sale-by-owner?

For Sale by OwnerOwners cannot list their properties directly on multiple listing services, which local databases of homes for sale that are owned and operated by local Realtor associations. However, sellers want to sell their home without the help of a professional; some brokers will list their homes on their local MLS for a modest flat fee. Once homes are listed on an MLS, they will also appear on national sites like that aggregate listings as well as local brokers’ sites.

Owners can also post their homes on several sites that specialize in for-sale-by-owner listings that are not integrated into the MLS network. Many of this charge a fee. Most of the buyers using these sites are looking for bargains.

What is the best way to deal with a mold issue in the basement?

The presence of mold in a basement is not only a potential health problem, but it is also a sign that a basement is susceptible to flooding. Mold is easy to detect by its smell, and home inspectors hired by buyers are expert at detecting the presence of mold. Mold can easily deter buyers from making an offer or cause buyers to cancel a contract.
Mold In A EdgeRemediating mold after a contract is signed will cost the seller and may delay settlement. HUD Secretary Ben Carson recently sold his Florida home for $300,000 less than originally priced in part due to a mold infestation.

If you suspect you have mold in your basement, have it inspected by a professional before you list your home for sale. If mold exists, ask a professional for advice and take steps to make your basement safe from flooding or seepage. You may have to relay your basement floor with a waterproof membrane and re-landscape the areas adjoining your home to make sure water flows away from your basement and add sump pumps to drains that can become blocked in heavy rains.

Remediation is a three-step process that includes killing the mold, cleaning all surfaces and applying a chemical that will keep it from recurring.

In the long run, it’s cheaper to take whatever steps you need to take so that your basement will pass a mold inspection.

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About The Author
Steve Cook
Steve Cook is editor and co-publisher of Real Estate Economy Watch. He is a member of the board of the National Association of Real Estate Editors and writes for several leading Web sites, including Inman News. From 1999 to 2007 he was vice president for public affairs at the National Association of Realtors.