All posts by Robert Summers
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January 11, 2016

What Should I Look for When Picking an Agent?

Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent Makes All the Difference

The purchase or sale of a home is a substantial undertaking. And while you can go through it alone, you’re probably better off enlisting the services of a qualified professional. A real estate agent can help you find the perfect home, negotiate for a better purchase price, and get a better sense of the nuances of the local market. Sellers’ agents are adept at ensuring maximum sales price, broadening listing exposure, and providing guidance for increasing a home’s salability.

But not all real estate agents are created equally. The best often earn their commission several times over, and the worst may leave you [...]

 
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January 5, 2016

Mortgages: What to Expect With Your Credit Score

There’s No Time Like the Present for Improving Your Credit Score

If you’re considering purchasing a home, then you know that your credit score is a crucial piece of the puzzle. It’s one of the most important metrics lenders use to evaluate your viability as a borrower, and to determine how much interest they’ll need to charge to make taking the risk of offering you a mortgage worthwhile.

If you haven’t yet applied for a mortgage, then you may be wondering how your credit score will stack up in the eyes of potential lenders. Will they offer you a great interest rate, or will they tell you to come back when you have your financial ducks in a row?

In this guide, we’ll clue [...]

 
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December 30, 2015

Buying a Home When You Own a Home

Stuck in the Middle of Homeownership

Think back to when you purchased your first home. For most, the process of buying a first home is full of surprises. It’s an exciting time, to be sure, but there are plenty of unexpected roadblocks and contingencies.

And if you’ve ever sold a home, then you know that the sales process can also be fraught with unforeseen bugaboos. Buyers fall through or have trouble securing financing. Inspections reveal unknown issues that can derail the entire sale. In short, things happen.

Buying and selling a home can both be trying undertakings, but doing both at the same time presents its own set of challenges. If you’re considering purchasing a [...]

 
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December 28, 2015

When It’s Time to Walk Away From Your Home

Is It Really Time to Let Go?

In some real estate markets, housing values have recovered quite nicely since the housing crisis first struck fear into the hearts of homeowners everywhere. But other markets haven’t bounced back so quickly. There are still plenty of homeowners who are underwater, owing more on their mortgages than their homes are currently worth.

Nobody goes into the home buying process with the intention of defaulting on the mortgage. After all, owning your own home is a big part of the American Dream. But for some homeowners, there comes a time when continuing to make the payments on a losing investment starts to seem pretty futile.

If you find yourself [...]

 
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December 24, 2015

Building a Home? How Do You Even Begin?

How to Build Your Own Home From the Ground Up

For many house hunters, purchasing an existing home is a fine option. And in most markets, there are plenty of options to choose from, so you’re bound to find one or two that fit your needs quite well.

But what if you have something really specific in mind? Or, what if you’re just not finding anything in the local market that fits the bill? Well, it just may end up being the case that you’ll need to build your own home.

Of course, building your own home is an extensive process, with plenty of room for error. So before embarking on your own custom home journey, read these tips to avoid common pitfalls.

Make a Home [...]
 
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December 22, 2015

House Flipping 101

Flipping Houses for Fun and Profit

Fortunes have been made flipping houses, but they’ve also been lost. Done correctly, house flipping can be a very profitable and exciting business. But of course, it’s not without its potential pitfalls. If you’re interested in buying and selling homes for profit, then check out these handy tips before you get started.

Don’t Get Emotional

The process of purchasing a home can be an emotional one, even if you’re only in it for the money. Whatever you do, don’t let your emotions run away with you when flipping houses. Evaluate each deal from a purely logical standpoint, even if you feel a strong personal draw toward buying a certain [...]

 
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December 17, 2015

How to Avoid Mortgage Fraud

Don’t Fall Prey to Mortgage Fraudsters

The real estate market may be recovering, but many homeowners still find themselves in vulnerable positions, leading them to seek assistance online. The only problem with this is that anyone can build a website, and some “helpful” websites are actually fronts for mortgage scams. So if you’re a fist-time homebuyer, you’ll want to be extra careful to avoid being taken advantage of by fraudsters.

Market conditions are ripe for shady schemes, but there’s no need to become another unfortunate statistic. Just follow these tips for avoiding mortgage fraud, and you’ll have a much better chance to steer clear of it.

If It Sounds Too Good to Be [...]
 
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December 15, 2015

How Buying a Home Is Different from How It Appears on Reality Shows

House Hunting in the Real World

Whether you’re actually house hunting or just hunting for something entertaining to watch, reality shows like House Hunters certainly do make for engaging television. Will the stars of the segment close the deal? Which house will they choose when there’s pros and cons to each? Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion – you won’t want to miss it!

As addictive as they might be, anyone who has ever purchased a house can tell you that the reality is often a very different experience from what you see on TV shows that deal with the buying and selling of homes. If you’re a first-time homebuyer and you’re basing your expectations on your favorite reality [...]

 
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December 14, 2015

Everything I Know About Real Estate, I Learned From Star Wars

There’s Always Room to Negotiate

When Jabba the Hut imprisoned princess Leia, C-3PO, and Han Solo, Luke Skywalker knew he’d be walking into a dangerous situation as he entered Jabba’s lair. However, that didn’t stop him from trying to negotiate for his friends’ freedom. When you’re purchasing a home, don’t be afraid to negotiate for a better deal. Sellers may be willing to make concessions to close the deal; just be sure to leave your blaster at home.

Leave the Big Jobs to the Pros

Han Solo was known for making DIY repairs to the Millennium Falcon, a ship that he won from Lando Calrissian in a card game. One can’t fault his can-do spirit, but it seems he often took on bigger [...]

 
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December 10, 2015

Year-End Tax Tips for Homeowners

Before the year ends, you might want to spend some time making sure that you’re ready to get full value for tax incentives available to homeowners. You’ll need documentation for the deductions and credits you take, so be sure to collect the paperwork you will need as the year ends.

Mortgage Interest Deduction

This is the biggie for most homeowners. The interest you pay on your mortgage is deductible from your federal and state income taxes. Fixed rate mortgages are structured so that you pay more interest than principal at first. The ratio of interest to principal declines every year and your tax deduction decreases as well. Halfway through your term, you will be paying more [...]

 
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December 9, 2015

Refinancing Tips

Should You Refinance Your Mortgage?

If you own a home, then you’re probably already aware that interest rates are currently at record-shattering lows. You may also have caught wind of the fact that those ultra-low rates may vanish in the not-too-distant future.

After all, the Federal Reserve slashed rates nearly seven years ago in an attempt to bolster an economy that had been staggered by the financial crisis. With the economy showing signs of recovery, many experts believe we’re in for a rate hike as early as December of this year. After all, rates like these can’t last forever.

A rate hike could be good news for those with interest-bearing savings accounts, but for [...]

 
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December 7, 2015

Why Is Now a Good Time to Buy a Home?

It’s a Big Purchase; You Want to Get the Timing Right

For most Americans, owning a home is a part of the dream of living in this country. There’s just something so inspiring about the idea of owning your own little piece of the city you love. You get to decorate it however you like, you don’t have to worry about the landlord raising the rent, and instead of paying off someone else’s mortgage, you’re growing your own nest egg a little bit bigger every time you send in a monthly mortgage payment.

The appeal of homeownership is an enduring thing, and once you’ve caught the home-buying bug, it’s hard to shake it until you’ve signed on the dotted line. Having said that, [...]

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