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For Homeowners

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What is a title company?

The process of buying real estate can get confusing very quickly, which is why real estate professionals and lawyers exist. They are there to help homeowners–especially first-time homeowners–navigate the pitfalls and complications of the real estate business. Unfortunately, sometimes even figuring out what kind of help you need can be confusing. The average homeowner might not know the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate lawyer, much less what more specialty organizations like title companies are. We turned to our real estate professionals to help answer the question: what is a title company, anyway? What is a …

lease to own

How does lease-to-own really work?

When you’ve decided to purchase a home, the number of different options available to you can be overwhelming. Just figuring out what type of home you want is confusing enough, but deciding how to finance it–or even knowing what options are available to you–can have even the most savvy consumer pulling their hair out. That’s why last week we decided to explore one of these many different options: lease to own. Hopefully, we can help you untangle a little bit of the knot that is home financing! Lease-to-own housing works in a similar way rent-to-own financing plans work in other …

rent vs buy

How do you know if it is better to buy or rent a home?

This week our real estate professionals delved into the advantages of both buying and renting. We learned that there is no perfect option, because each individual situation is different. Renting may be better for those with jobs that cause frequent relocation, while buying may be better for those who want to personalize their space and set down permanent roots. Below we have broken down the main advantages of both renting and buying a home. Hopefully this insight from our legal professionals can help you figure out which is the right choice for you! RENTING 1) Flexibility Renting allows a freedom …

property line

Why do property lines matter?

The most important issue to consider when buying land or a house is where the property lines are. Without a division between two property lots, modern society would be in chaos. We thrive off of laws and boundaries between not only what is right or wrong, but also, what belongs to us and what belongs to others. However, often property lines are disputed, which can cause major problems. This week, our legal and home network members shared some great information about the history of property lines and the purpose of such boundaries. Property lines go all the way back to …

historic homes

What challenges do historic home owners face?

The United States may be a relatively young country, but we have homes and monuments rich with history. While our history is well documented in books and museums, our homes can also offer a glimpse into the past. Some homes are even registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Inhabiting a historical home can be enchanting, but a great deal of responsibility is associated with maintaining and owning such a home. Laws surrounding renovation and maintenance standards abound. This week, our legal resource gave us some legal tips and shared practical advice for both historical home owners and those …

real estate predictions

What is the real estate forecast for 2013?

Real estate predictions are difficult to make, especially for the entire country. Different regions of the country and even different states and cities are recovering from the recession at vastly different rates. In areas where consumer confidence is up and unemployment is declining at the same time, the real estate market seems to be correspondingly strong. Below we have compiled a few different predictions and valuable pieces of information about the real estate market in 2013 from our real estate and legal network. 1) A Tough Year for Buyers According to Lynn Windle of Coldwell Banker, “It’s going to be …

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How can renters improve their renting experience?

Renting can be a great experience and a financially wise decision for many people. But without ownership, your rights as a renter can be a bit of a mystery. To make renting a positive experience we looked to our legal network for advice. Our renting network seemed to agree on a few vital pieces of legal advice. Firstly, get an inspection before you move in. Take advantage of renter advocacy groups to learn more about your rights as a renter where you live. Finally, establish a professional relationship with your landlord. Move-In Inspection Almost all apartments, condos, and homes for …

landlord liability

Are landlords liable for injuries on rental property?

Renting a home is a risky move for both the landlord and tenant. A tenant’s life can be directly impacted by their relationship with their landlord. This relationship can affect their finances, comfort, event their safety. While a landlord does have the responsibility to maintain a reasonably safe environment for their tenants, a tenant cannot blame the landlord for all accidents on the property. Our network members gave us great advice on how to proceed as a landlord or tenant if an accident occurs on rental property. Below is a guide for landlords and tenants alike, for how to proceed …

discrimination real estate

How should you handle discrimination in real estate?

Discriminatory violations can occur at any stage in the real estate process. From selling to buying, lending to renting, all parts of the transaction are susceptible to unfair practices. Luckily, there are several agencies and professionals dedicated to ensuring that all people have equal access to affordable housing. History Anti-discrimination protection has been a central part of equal housing since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. This bill effectively prohibited discrimination in real estate transactions due to religious affiliation, sex, gender, nationality, disability or family status. This law applies to sellers, buyers, lenders and real estate agents. …

buyer guarantee

What guarantees are there in real estate?

This month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. housing market is improving as median home prices increase and inventory decreases. Homes are also selling faster which may be due, in part, to a rise in foreclosure numbers (up 6% in July according to the Associated Press). In an up-swinging market, potential home buyers are looking to cash in on the shrinking number of great real estate deals. But in that hurry to catch good value, some homebuyers may find that their dream home is nothing more than a money pit. Real estate investments are protected as well as …