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Buying a Home

Condo/Co-Op Worksheet: Download PDF

Here are some basic questions you'll want to ask the seller, seller's agent, and neighbors about a particular condo or co-op.

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Questions for Seller Worksheet

Before making an offer to buy a house, you’ll have lots of questions for the current owner. Here are some basic questions you and your agent will...

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Home Inspector Reference Questionnaire: Download PDF

Before choosing a home inspector, you’ll want to check references from others who worked with the particular inspector.  Here’s what to ask the ...

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Home Inspector Interview Questionnaire: Download PDF

Before choosing a home inspector, you’ll want to check references from others who worked with the particular inspector.  Here’s what to ask the ...

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Real Estate Agent Interview Questionnaire: Download PDF

A good estate agent is key to a successful house purchase (see the Nolo article Choosing Your Real Estate

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Real Estate Agent Reference Questionnaire: Download PDF

Before hiring a real estate agent to help buy a house, you’ll want to check references from other homebuyers who worked with this agent.  Try to ...

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Real Estate Attorney Reference Questionnaire: Download PDF

Before hiring a real estate attorney to help with your house purchase, you’ll want to check references from others who worked with this lawyer.  ...

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Real Estate Attorney Interview Questionnaire: Download PDF

Real estate attorneys may help homebuyers negotiate the purchase of a house, review the sales contract, perform a title search, represent you at the...

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If I buy a home at a foreclosure sale in Delaware, can its owners later "redeem" the house?

Question I recently moved to Delaware and want to buy a house, but I don’t like anything that is on the market.

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If I buy a home at a foreclosure sale in Arkansas, can its owners later "redeem" the house?

Question My wife and I are moving to Little Rock, Arkansas and we’re having trouble finding a home to buy in the area where we want to live.

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If I buy a home at a foreclosure sale in Connecticut, can its owners later "redeem" the house?

Question My wife and I live in Connecticut, and have been having trouble finding a home to buy in the area we like.

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If I buy a home at a foreclosure sale in Colorado, can its owners later "redeem" the house?

Question My husband and I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and have been having trouble finding an affordable home in the area where we'd ideall...

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If I buy a home at a foreclosure sale in California, can its owners later "redeem" the house?

Question My husband and I live in California and have been having trouble finding a home to buy in the area we like.

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Arizona Home Sales: What the Listing Real Estate Broker Must Disclose About the Property's Condition

In a typical home sale transaction, there are four parties involved: the seller, the seller’s real estate broker (commonly known as the listing brok...

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If I buy a home at a foreclosure sale in Arizona, can its owners later "redeem" the house?

Question I’m hoping to buy an affordable second home in Arizona and just heard that there's one being foreclosed in the exact area where I want t...

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Handling a Tenant's Abandoned Property in Alaska

Most states have laws governing what happens when a tenant moves out and leaves personal property behind.

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How to Finance Your Real Estate Investment

Financing investment property can get pretty creative. When taking on your first real estate investment, however, it’s best to keep your risk to a m...

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How to Depreciate Investment Property to Reduce Taxable Income

Question I bought my first investment property last year and I am now preparing my taxes. Can I depreciate the property to reduce my taxable income...

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Oops, bought a timeshare in Mexico -- can I cancel the contract?

Question My wife and I recently fell for one of those “Spend a free weekend in the Mexico!” timeshare presentation pitches.

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How long should I hold my real estate investment property?

Question How long should I hold on to my investment property to maximize the return on my investment?

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Budgeting to Buy a Resort Home? Expenses Not to Overlook

Owning a home in a resort community (an area where tourism is the main economic activity) can be a dream come true.

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What's a Better Use of Money: Renting or Buying a Resort Home?

If you often vacation at a favorite resort area, you might wonder whether it might make sense to stop paying rent for your accommodations, and instead...

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How to Research Investment Properties Before You Buy

Before acquiring an investment property, you will need to do a lot of background research to make a wise decision.

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Life in a Development -- Which Costs More, a Condo, Townhome or Single-Family Home?

If you have ever lived in, or are considering purchasing a home in a development (or a “planned community” or “planned unit development” (PUD)...

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How Much Does Owning a Home Really Cost?

When people think of how much it will cost to buy a home, they tend to think of the purchase price. And no wonder: With median home prices in the U....

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What to Look for and Avoid When Signing a Home-Building Contract

So, you have decided to build your own home. You’ve chosen your layout and have selected all the home’s finishes and fixtures.

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Buying a Condo: What Property Will You Actually Own?

If you are buying (or already own) a condominium unit, you probably know that you won’t end up with a parcel of land that’s all yours, as you woul...

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Before buying condo, should I check whether previous owner was paid up on dues and assessments?

Question I found a great condominium unit that I’d like to buy for my winter getaway.

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Evaluating Inspection Reports on Investment Properties

Before you purchase an investment property, it is customary that you have it professionally inspected (just as buyers do before finalizing the purchas...

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What Are in the Basic Governing Documents of an HOA

If you own, or are thinking of buying, a condominium or home in a planned development (PUD), you know they are popular places to live.

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Before Buying: How to Read the CC&Rs or Homeowners' Association (HOA) Documents

So, you’ve found a condominium or a home in a planned development you’d like to buy.

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Top Resources for Novice Real Estate Investors

So you’re thinking about taking your savings and investing it in real estate, but other than your own house, you have no experience and you don’t ...

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Reviewing and Dealing With Title Commitment Exceptions Before Buying a Home

It’s an exciting time -- you’ve found a great property to buy, signed the purchase agreement, and will be attending the closing next month! Don’...

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Homebuyers: Reviewing the Title Commitment Now Prevents Unpleasant Surprises Later

So, you’ve recently signed a purchase and sale agreement for a new home -- congratulations!

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If You Inherit a Home Do You Qualify for the $250,000/$500,000 Home Sale Tax Exclusion?

If you inherit a home do you qualify for the $250,000/$500,000 home sale tax exclusion? The answer is no. However, you benefit from the stepped-up bas...

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Home Purchase Costs You Can't Deduct or Add to Tax Basis

There are many different types of fees and charges a home buyer must pay to get a loan and complete the purchase. For tax purposes, these expenses fal...

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Using an IRA to Make a House Down Payment

With the housing market rebounding, more and more people are looking to buy a home.

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Home Buyers: What You Can Learn From the Good Faith Estimate (GFE)

Shopping for a home loan is not much different than any other major purchase. You want to compare the costs and benefits of the available products bef...

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Home Buyers: What You Can Learn From the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure

Although a loan may help you finance your home purchase, it also comes with various costs. These are connected with taking out, closing, and carrying ...

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Home Buyers: How to Read Your HUD-1 Statement

The HUD-1 provides a picture of the monetary side of the property closing.

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Home Buyers: What Happens at the Closing

The time leading up to your home purchase closing is going to be busy.

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Home Buyers: What Documents to Expect at Your Close of Escrow

At last, most likely several weeks after your offer to buy a home was accepted by the seller, you are preparing for the closing day.

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Getting Young Children Ready for a Move

Moving to a new house can be exciting for parents, but traumatic for kids, especially if they are moving far away from close friends and relatives.

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Hiring a Professional Mover

Arrange Your Move If you’re moving into a one-bedroom condo and you have very little furniture, you might do fine by enlisting the help of a few...

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How to Review Seller Real Estate Disclosures

Most—but not all—states require sellers to give prospective buyers a disclosure report.

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How to Remove an Inspection Contingency When You Buy a House

Most homebuyers include an inspection contingency in the purchase contract that gives you the option of backing out of the deal if you’re aren’t...

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Home Sales in Indiana: What the Listing Broker Must Disclose About the Property's Physical Condition

Christine, a real estate agent, is on her way to meet with a new set of clients. The clients want to list their home for sale.

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Residential Home Buyers in Washington: What Can You Learn From Seller Disclosures?

Washington’s seller disclosure laws require (with few exceptions) that a seller of residential real property provide you, the buyer of that property...

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What is the difference between an investment property and a second home?

People sometimes use the terms “investment property” and “second home” interchangeably to describe real property that is not their primary res...

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Community Fruit Tree Harvests

Anyone with a mature fruit tree is familiar with the annual quandaries: How do you get all that fruit out of the tree and what do you do with it?

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Ten Tips on Joining an Existing Cohousing Arrangement

Found a cohousing community you want to join? Here’s how to to find out if this will work for you.

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Casual Co-Housing

Casual cohousing (sometimes called "cohousing light," "cohousing cousins," or "cohousing-inspired") is sort of a scaled-down version of cohousing.

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Home Swapping and Couch Surfing

Looking for a low- (or no-) cost vacation homes? Try home swapping or couchsurfing.

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Condominiums and Housing Cooperatives

In addition to buying a single-family house with others, you can share ownership in a condominium or housing cooperative. Here are the basics on the...

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How to Buy an Ownership Share of a Friend’s Home

If you plan to buy a house with someone else, you might go house hunting and buy a house together.

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Preparing a House Co-Ownership Agreement

You absolutely must put your co-ownership plans in writing. If you don't have a written agreement and a problem develops that you can't resolve on y...

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Legal and Financial Issues to Consider When Co-Owning a Home

When you buy a home with others, you're not just entering into a living arrangement: You're entering a legal relationship as well.

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How to Set Priorities When You’re Co-Buying a House

Taking the leap from renting to owning can be expensive.

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Single-Woman Homebuyers: What to Consider

At last count, single women made up nearly one quarter of all homebuyers. But this group often has special concerns and fears about buying property. T...

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Online Fun for Home Buyers

After hours surfing the Web for the perfect home-sweet-home, your eyes are probably tired and your brain foggy. The antidote? More hours surfing the W...

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Researching the Best Places to Live

Whether you're planning to move across town or across the country, you probably want to know more about your new community. Where are the best local s...

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Real Estate Terminology for Home Buyers

Here are some common vocabulary terms to know when getting ready to buy a home. For more unusual verbiage, try searching Nolo's Legal Dictionary.

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Homebuying Readiness Quiz

We've all heard about the benefits of home ownership and investment, and for the right person, buying a home can be a dream come true. But that doesn'...

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Should You Hire a Real Estate Agent or Lawyer to Buy a House?

It's no secret that real estate agents earn high commissions (paid by the seller, but the cost may be indirectly passed on to you). And real estate la...

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Decoding Home Sale Marketing Lingo

Homebuyers are bombarded with all sorts of marketing lingo. Often, sellers and their agents use artfully crafted phrases to catch your eye, lure you i...

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Best Home Buying and Selling Research Websites

Whether you're looking for information on the real estate market, listings of homes for sale, or are ready to compare mortgage rates and terms, here a...

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Buying a Home: Overview

If you've decided to buy a house, you may be wondering where to begin -- find a real estate agent? Go to open houses? You'll have to juggle a number o...

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Rent or Buy a House?

The "rent or buy" decision is no longer the no-brainer it once was.

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Beginning Your Home Search

It's good to start your home-search process on your own, particularly if you haven't yet chosen an agent. Just going to open houses for a week or two ...

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