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Building Permits – FAQ

Building codes are established by local authorities to set out minimum public-safety standards for building design, construction, quality, use and occupancy, location and maintenance. There are specialized codes for plumbing, electrical and fire, which usually involve separate inspections and inspectors. All buildings must be issued a building permit and a certificate of occupancy before it can be used. During construction, housing inspectors must make checks at key points. Codes are usually enforced by denying [...]

By | February 17th, 2012|FAQ, Ownership Discussions|0 Comments

Homeowner Associations – FAQ

The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act does not require strictly residential apartments and single-family homes to be made accessible. But all new construction of public accommodations or commercial projects (such as a government building or a shopping mall) must be accessible. New multi-family construction also falls into this category. In all states, the Federal Fair Housing Act provides protection against discrimination for people with physical or mental disabilities. Discrimination includes the refusal to make [...]

By | February 16th, 2012|FAQ, Ownership Discussions|0 Comments

Neighbor Disputes – FAQ

Can a condo association ban pets? A homeowners association can both enact and enforce such pet restrictions. As the following case illustrates, it is important to read a development's covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) before you buy into it. Pet restrictions sometimes appear there. Also, if you have talked to other owners, you will know whether or not there is tolerance for pets. In the case of Nahrstedt v. Lakeside Village Condominium Association, Natore Nahrstedt, [...]

By | February 16th, 2012|FAQ, Ownership Discussions|0 Comments

Hiring a Contractor – FAQ

While hiring contractors recommended by friends is usually a safe route, never hire a construction professional without first checking him or her out first. If your state has a licensing board for contractors, call to find out if there are any outstanding complaints against that license holder. Also, call your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints on file. If you are satisfied with the answers you find there, interview [...]

By | February 16th, 2012|FAQ, Ownership Discussions|0 Comments

Avoid Foreclosure – FAQ

This situation is known as a "short sale." Sometimes home owners can negotiate with lenders and have them split the difference between the sale price and loan amount, which still must be paid. A short sale may be complicated if the loan has been sold to the secondary market because then the lender will have to get permission from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the two major secondary-market players. If the loan was a [...]

By | February 16th, 2012|FAQ, Ownership Discussions|0 Comments

Insurance – FAQ

A standard homeowners policy protects against fire, lightning, wind, storms, hail, explosions, riots, aircraft wrecks, vehicle crashes, smoke, vandalism, theft, breaking glass, falling objects, weight of snow or sleet, collapsing buildings, freezing of plumbing fixtures, electrical damage and water damage from plumbing, heating or air conditioning systems, according to the Insurance Information Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group for the insurance industry. Such policies are "all-risk" policies, which cover everything except earthquakes, floods, war [...]

By | February 16th, 2012|FAQ, Ownership Discussions|0 Comments

Improving Your Real Estate – FAQ

The biggest factor outside of a homeowner's control is market conditions. But other issues -- including the condition of the property, specific home improvements and neighborhood stability and safety -- can influence property values. The greatest rise in home prices occurs when the economy is strong and the number of home sales is increasing. Though markets vary, that has occurred twice in recent history -- in the early 1970s and the late 1980s. Specific [...]

By | February 16th, 2012|FAQ, Ownership Discussions|0 Comments

mortgage Lock-ins – FAQ

Locking in a mortgage rate with a lender is one way to ensure that same rate still will be available when you need it. Lock-ins make sense when borrowers expect rates to rise during the next 30 to 60 days, which is the usual length of time lock-ins are available. A lock-in given at the time of application is useful because it may take the lender several weeks or longer to prepare a loan [...]

By | February 16th, 2012|FAQ, Mortgage|0 Comments

Seller Financing – FAQ

Seller financing offers benefits to both buyers and sellers including tax breaks for the seller as well as offering an alternative when conventional loans can't be found. The risks involved are the same risks facing any lender. Is the borrower a good credit risk? Will the property hold enough value over time to allow for the repayment of all loans made against it? Sellers should run a full credit check on the borrower, require [...]

By | February 16th, 2012|FAQ, Mortgage|0 Comments

Prequalifying and Preapproval – FAQ

Knowing what you can afford is the first rule of home buying, and that depends on how much income and how much debt you have. In general, lenders don't want borrowers to spend more than 28 percent of their gross income per month on a mortgage payment or more than 36 percent on debts. It pays to check with several lenders before you start searching for a home. Most will be happy to roughly [...]

By | February 16th, 2012|FAQ, Mortgage|0 Comments