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The Art of House Hunting Armed with your down payment and your pre-approved mortgage loan, the next step is finding the house that will best meet your family's needs. With realistic expectations, patience, and plenty of research, you'll be well on your way. Once you narrow it down to the neighborhoods you like, you'll want to determine the maximum house price you can afford. Even though you're pre-approved for a set loan amount, it doesn't mean you can afford it. You'll want to factor in other expenses, including retirement and college savings, vacations, and home maintenance and repairs, when you calculate how much
Mortgage Rates U.S. averages as of April 28, 2003:30 yr. fixed: 5.79%15 yr. fixed: 5.12%1 yr. adj: 3.79%30 yr. jumbo: 6.98%-->
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you can afford for a monthly payment. And don't forget to budget for homeowners insurance and property taxes. Next, differentiate your needs versus your wants. You need three bedrooms,
Wondering What Your Home Is Worth?Let me show you.
Tips For Avoiding Fraudulent Moving Companies Moving can be stressful, and the last thing you want to worry about during your move is whether your belongings will arrive, and if so, in what condition. An estimated 1.4 to 1.6 million household moves take place each year. Most go smoothly but a significant number don't. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation receives about 3,000 to 4,000 complaints each year from consumers who contend moving companies victimized them. Here's what usually happens. Someone hires a moving company through the Internet because of a low estimate. Once the truck shows up and loads everything, the estimate is increased to two, three or four times the original bid. The consumer is then told that unless the new bill is paid, their possessions will be sold at auction. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says in other instances moving companies will fail to deliver or deliver damaged goods, then refuse to compensate them for loss and damages claimed. Some may not even be legitimate carriers at all, but will prey on those who can least afford it - the elderly and uninformed.
Tips for Showing YourCondo, Townhouse Condos and townhouses are selling like never before, with prices in various parts of the country breaking records. If you're thinking of selling, now's a great time to cash in and move up. In order to receive top dollar, you'll want to show your home to look its best. The National Association of Realtors recently reported that condo and co-op sales sales in 2002 rose 10.5 percent above what had been the record in 2001 - and they're appreciating faster than single-family homes. The median price of an existing condo in 2002 was $137,100. So, if you've decided that now is the time to sell, you'll want to take the time to properly prepare your condo to show to potential buyers. When it comes to regular, detached houses, first impressions and curb appeal are everything. With a condo or townhouse, first impressions are still important, but curb appeal comes more with the overall look of the development and how well it's maintained - something normally controlled by the homeowners' association. And because you'll have less control over the curb appeal, it's even more important to impress would-be buyers once they open the door to the condo or townhouse. One of the first things to do is to light up the house, buying additional lamps if you need to. Because many townhouses and condos share walls, there are two walls
Outdoor Living: The Back Yard Is The New Second House Now that the gloom of winter is dissipating, many are turning to the great outdoors to relax and rejuvenate. But countless numbers of us are stepping no farther than our own back yard or patio to cook, relax, and entertain. And you might be intrigued by some of the extravagant products on the market - a gas fireplace that doubles as a mirror when not in use, electric fireplaces in a variety of designs, a freestanding stove with an aromatherapy feature, a low-emission wood burning fireplace with automatic features, a gas fireplace with 30-inch-high flames. Joan McCloskey, Editorial Marketing Director of Better Homes and Gardens recently told attendees at the International Builders Show that outdoor rooms are every bit as important to a homebuyer as interior spaces.
CONTINUED >>>Local Market Conditions
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