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5 Things You to Know Before Shopping for a Home

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When you are ready to make one of the biggest investments of your life and purchase a new home, it is time that you also learn about how home shopping works. Whether you need an agent or not, or whether you should look for a home in a particular area, it all depends on how good your research is. If this is your first time buying a new home, here are some expert tips from realtors to keep in mind while exploring your options.

Have multiple mortgage options

Find as many mortgage options as you can until the last day of purchasing your home. A mortgage might seem like the first thing to pick, but it should always be given time until you can find a reasonable option. Go through your options of mortgage lenders like candidates. Make sure that you get to know about each lender before picking the most suitable mortgage.

mortgage

Find a trusted agent

Take the help of relatives and friends to find an agent that can find you the best prices, properties, and locations for your new home. You need a realtor that can provide the right advice while thinking in your best interest. Know that the realtor gets a cut on making a sale, but the buyers do not have to pay for it. The sellers pay some part of the sale to the realtor for bringing them a customer. A good realtor will always keep your interests first while guiding you through the buying process.

Contracts are negotiable

Contracts are a part of home purchases that the buyers and sellers sign to complete the purchase. While the seller may show you a contract based on their terms, it is not mandatory to agree to it. Contracts are always negotiable and can be changed according to the happiness of both buyers and sellers. They are meant to be discussed, and the realtor will help you with that.

Contracts

Plan for long term

As a successful person, you might want to buy a house as a part of your assets, but it does not have a rushed decision for the sake of buying. You should look at any property as your place to relax and enjoy your life forever. Think in terms of the future and whether this house can become your future home where you can stay with your wife, kids, and parents. This tip becomes even more crucial if this is the only home you will purchase. If you do not see yourself enjoying this house after ten years, you should keep looking for options.

Do not be afraid to ask questions

As a buyer, you can ask all kinds of questions to the realtor or the seller about the property. You can learn about how well the pipelines are maintained, whether there any problems with insulation of the house, how energy efficient are the home appliances, and how good is the security? All such questions are meant to be asked when you are inspecting the house. It is the duty of the realtor to give you the right information. You can hire a home inspector to inspect the property for you and find out its pros and cons.

The Foreclosure Crisis Is Not Yet Over for U.S. Metros

The foreclosure crisis is past the peak but not done yet, according to the latest analysis of metropolitan serious delinquency data on Foreclosure-Response.org. Extremely high foreclosure rates remain in Florida and many Northeastern metro areas, with rates well above normal nationwide. Since the peak of the crisis nationally, serious delinquency rates have gone down only slightly in 18 metro areas and have continued rising in 9 others (largely in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions).

More updates and changes on Foreclosure-Response.org
In addition to the new foreclosure commentary, Foreclosure-Response.org has updated our data, our research resources, and our style.

Maps & Data – You can now access the following updated data sets (often connected to maps and strategic policy guidance).

  • September 2013 metropolitan serious delinquency rates and rankings
  • September 2013 foreclosure risk scores
  • September 2013 data on neighbourhood conditions  (i.e. the Market Strength – Foreclosure Risk matrix)
  • 2011 HMDA housing market data

Clearinghouse section – The Clearinghouse provides a window into the most policy-relevant research and resources for restoring communities affected by foreclosures. We curate Clearinghouse materials and summarize them so that you can easily find what you need and skip the information overload.

Streamlined Access to Data, Policy Guidance, and Search Tools
Regular users of Foreclosure-Response.org will notice that a lot of things look different around there. The home page has taken a few steps toward minimalism. The search tools are more obvious. The Maps and Data and the Policy Guide sections are more prominent, along with the new Clearinghouse. Less frequently used sections are still available through header tabs. You can also easily tell when sections were last updated. Tell us what you think!

What’s Next for Foreclosure-Response.org?
While the site’s users have been very clear that the data remain essential, we no longer expect to produce data updates regularly. It is clear, however, that the crisis is not over and the need for good data is still strong. If we are able to resume regular data updates, we will let you know.

Please send us your stories about how and why you use our data.

Even with a reduced data presence, our guidance about strategic data use, plus the Policy Guide and new Clearinghouse will continue to serve your need for practical and relevant information, policy examples, guidance, and research on foreclosures and neighbourhood recovery.

In addition, the three partner organizations in the team continue to offer resources targeted towards policymakers and practitioners. The National Housing Conference and LISC both report on promising practices from the field and the latest housing policy developments through their organizational websites, www.nhc.org and www.lisc.org, as well as through NHC’s HousingPolicy.org resources.  The Urban Institute’s National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership will continue to share examples of using neighbourhood-level data to address housing issues and the Urban Institute’s new Housing Finance Policy Center provides data and insight on broad national trends. This can all be found through www.urban.org.

Our hope is that innovative community leaders will continue to learn from each other’s efforts, build policy and practical strength from the vast existing and growing knowledge base, and use rigorous data – particularly local data – and analysis to inform their actions as they face this new era in housing policy.

Equitable transit-oriented development: Public benefit disguised as sticks and bricks

Housing and transportation are the two largest costs for the typical American household. Those concerned with reducing the cost of living for low- and moderate-income earners often focus on affordable housing: increasing funding; aligning resources; coordinating priorities; strengthening regulations; etc. While this work is invaluable, the effort could go farther by considering access to affordable transportation.

Equitable transit-oriented development (eTOD) promotes inclusive, transit-rich neighbourhoods that accommodate a mix of incomes, land uses and modes of travel. It argues that young professionals, working families, fixed-income seniors and others should benefit from the variety of commercial and cultural amenities that robust and reliable transit often attracts. Ultimately, eTOD intends to leverage public investment in transit for greater public benefit.

Enterprise Community Partners’ research on eTOD highlights the myriad benefits of the development model for low- and moderate-income residents and regions as a whole.

  • Low- and moderate-income people use transit more than higher-income earners, so eTOD not only helps residents get around; it may increase “farebox revenue,” too.
  • With 75 per cent of all jobs in the nation’s 100 largest metro regions accessible by transit, greater access to transit reduces low-wage workers’ periods of unemployment.
  • By promoting walking and transit use, eTOD helps to address chronic health issues typical of low-income communities and to encourage seniors to receive medical care.
  • By addressing the “drive ‘til you qualify” mantra that pushes low-income families to ostensibly more affordable exurbs, eTOD reduces roadway congestion for drivers while promoting density and greater return on investment than suburban sprawl.

The desire to maximize transit investments has driven communities like Lakewood, Colorado to partner with Global Green’s Sustainable Neighborhood Assessment Program. In part based on Global Green’s recommendations, the city improved the pedestrian streetscape around a neighbourhood-scale light-rail station while the area’s housing authority, MetroWest Housing Solutions, constructed a mixed-income apartment building, Lamar Station Crossing, to ensure equitable development only 15 minutes from rapidly gentrifying downtown Denver.

Developed by McCormack Baron Salazar in partnership with Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, MacArthur Park Metro Apartments in Los Angeles exemplifies mixed-use eTOD, with 90 affordable apartments, retail space and a shared-parking structure for commuters, residents, customers and bicyclists. Enhancing the development’s connection with transit, each low-income family receives one complimentary transit pass and may purchase additional transit passes at a discount.

Affordable-housing advocates, local and state housing staff, elected representatives and developers should take the next step and partner with peers in transit to promote eTOD as a fundamental attribute essential to producing and sustaining a vital economy, a diverse housing market, access to economic advancement and increased equity. The 2015 Enterprise Green Communities Criteria aims to bridge that divide, rewarding developers whose projects sit near high-frequency transit or include transportation-demand management strategies like discounted transit passes and bike-share.

If these stakeholders better understood the deep advantages of eTOD to families of all incomes, the development model would serve to anchor a regional mosaic of socially inclusive, economically vibrant and resource efficient neighborhoods to the benefit of all.