Home Buyers Misconceptions

foreclosure defense lawyerBuying a home is a complicated undertaking. First home buyers usually rely on discussions with friends and relatives as to what action they should take, what they should do, what they should be aware of, and how real estate transactions are conducted. The lay of the land on home purchases has changed. The mortgage bubble that resulted in the real estate crisis in America has changed some of the ground rules.

Real Estate Brokers Are Not Always Necessary

Real estate brokers provide a valued service to both buyers and sellers. They are very well paid for their services. However, homeowners can sell their homes without a real estate broker. This is especially true if someone is available to show the home during evenings and weekends. A homeowner can advertise the home for sale in local newspapers and/or on the internet, meet and greet the prospective purchasers, and hire an attorney to represent them on the real estate transaction. If the homeowner does not have the time, the patience, or the availability, hiring a real estate broker to represent them may be a necessity. Websites such as www.zillow.com and www.redfin.com can be utilized by a homeowner who seeks to avoid paying the commissions related to listing a home with a real estate broker. Many home buyers today utilize the internet to look at the material on these websites to find the home of their dreams.

Hidden Costs of Owning a Home

The average homeowner, when looking to purchase a home, takes into consideration the mortgage and sometime the taxes on the property. In addition to the mortgage and taxes, homes require heat in the winter and they may require air conditioning in the summer. The fuel oil to heat the home and the electricity to air condition the home can be expensive. Depending on the climate of the area where the home is located, these expenses can amount to between $5,000 and $10,000 per year. Even if the home does not need air conditioning, the electricity to run the appliances, computers, and keep the lights on can be very expensive. The grounds of the home need to be maintained. The homeowner has to maintain his lawn and shrubs and the rest of his property or hire a gardener to do so. The exterior of the home needs to be kept in good condition. Painting needs to be done on a periodic basis and/or the home needs to be sided. Roofs can leak, boilers can break, pipes can leak, electrical issues can develop. These are all potential expenses a homeowner may face.

Down Payment Policies

A 20% down payment is not always needed to obtain a mortgage. If the prospective homeowner is looking to obtain a conventional mortgage from a financial institution, a 20% down payment may be necessary. However, under Federal Housing Authority (FHA) programs, much less is required as a down payment. In some situations, as little as 5% or 10% of the cost of the home is sufficient as a down payment. Programs are available from the Veterans Administration for veterans who can finance a home with a very low down payment.

foreclosure advocate for homeownersElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has been representing clients in real estate transactions for more than 35 years. His office represents homeowners in buying and selling of homes, defending them against foreclosures, and helping them obtain mortgage modifications when they fall behind on their mortgages.

What Do You Need to Know Before Buying a Home?

foreclosure defense attorneysWhen buying a home, prospective purchasers need to look at all of the factors involving the home. They should not be overly focused on the most attractive details of their prospective purchase. Sometimes prospective purchasers fall in love with the kitchen or the bathrooms. While an attractive kitchen and modernized bathrooms are important, there are other factors to be taken into consideration when purchasing a home.

The Home’s Condition

Before purchasing a home, every prospective purchaser should hire an engineer for the purpose of looking into the heating system, plumbing system, electrical system, checking that the roof doesn’t leak, and looking into the structural integrity of the house. The engineer should be especially careful to look into whether the house has drainage issues and/or whether it floods in heavy rainstorms.

Location, Location, Location

Before purchasing a house you should drive around the house’s neighborhood. You should look into how far the house is from schools, public transportation, and stores. Purchasing a house in an area that has an excellent school district adds value to the house and will help your children advance in their lives and careers.

Taxes

The amount you will be paying each year for school taxes and real estate taxes should be a significant factor in making a decision as to whether this is the right home for you. Unfortunately, taxes usually go up. You should take into consideration how much the taxes in this area have risen in the last few years and plan to pay higher taxes in the future on the home.

Nuisances

Are there businesses, factories or other circumstances nearby the prospective home that will cause either a noise, pollution or general type of nuisance for you?

Home’s History

Some people are very superstitious about buying a home where individuals died or were murdered in. If this is an issue for you, you should look into the history of who owned the home and what happened to those former homeowners.

Meeting Your Needs

Lastly and most importantly, the home must meet your needs. Are there enough bedrooms? Will there be enough space in the home? Above all, can you really afford this home?

helping homeowners stay in their homesElliot S. Schlissel, Esq., for more than 20 years has been representing homeowners with regard to the purchase and sale of single family homes. In addition, Elliot and his aggressive associates fight foreclosure lawsuits, help their clients obtain mortgage modifications, and are well known foreclosure lawyers.

Avoid Foreclosure Scams

The foreclosure rate in the United States is at an all time high. There are unscrupulous individuals who are using the foreclosure crisis to take advantage of homeowners who face the loss of their homes in foreclosure proceedings. A variety of scams exist. These scams cause further problems for homeowners. The following are a list of the types of scams that should be avoided:

1. Businesses that advertise with fliers placed in your mailbox or solicit door to door. There are various agencies that represent to homeowners facing foreclosure that they can help them. However some of the solicitations from these foreclosure help agencies not only do not help you in the foreclosure but further scam you out of your hard earned money.

2. You should review documents before you sign them. Sometimes the unscrupulous agencies advise the homeowner they need them to sign documents to authorize the agencies to negotiate for new payments plans with their financial institutions. Some of these documents actually surrender the title (deed) to your house in exchange for “rescue” loans. Do not sign any paperwork unless you have read it carefully or had it reviewed by an attorney that does foreclosure defense work!

3. Be careful about rent to buy programs. There are scam artist out there that will have you send a rental check every month to them. They will claim that they are
negotiating with your mortgage company regarding a refinance. However these rent to buy program scam artists keep your rental money and do not send the funds to your financial institution. Be careful not to sign any documents that deal with the title or deed to your house. Your home should remain in your name! The scam artists will sometimes tell homeowners that by giving up the ownership to your home you can obtain a better credit rating and secure new financing down the road. This is a lie!

4. Hire duly licensed attorneys who handle foreclosure defense cases. The world if full of lawyers. Some lawyers do divorces, some lawyers do car accidents case and some lawyers have experience in handling foreclosure defense. Make sure you are dealing with a licensed attorney in your state that handles foreclosure defense work. Attorneys who have experience handling real estate transactions do not necessarily have the experience to handle litigation involving financial institutions. Choose your attorney carefully!

5. If you have been scammed contact your local bar association for assistance. Local bar associations can provide you with a list of attorney’s that can help you with foreclosure defense and assist you in dealing with problems related to mortgage foreclosure scams.

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