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Home Buying Tips, Tricks and Techniques

Whether you're a first-time home buyer or a veteran, buying a home is a complex process. This home buying guide will help you to figure out what kind of home you might like, which amenities are most important to you and how to estimate your price range so you don't fall in love with a home that is too expensive, which you later regret.

At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.

Tips for Buying Your First Home
How to buy a home. The five essential steps to buying your first home. Tips for first-time home buyers. How to avoid mistakes when buying a home.

10 Good Reasons Not to Buy a Home
10 reasons you might not want to buy a home. Why some people are not cut out to be home buyers. When renting makes more sense than buying a home. Pitfalls of home buying.

Do First-Time Home Buyers Need an Agent?
Tips for buying your first home and whether you should hire your own agent, buy a home without an agent or let the seller's agent represent you.

How to Overcome Home Buying Obstacles When Buying Your First Home
The top 5 home buying obstacles. How to be prepared to buy a home and handle the challenges presented in the home buying process.

Tips for a First-time Home Buyer
Buying a home for the first time can be overwhelming for a first-time home buyer because few home buyers know how to begin the search. These tips will alleviate anxiety and get a home buyer started on the ground running.

Eight Reasons to Buy a Home
There are many benefits to buying a home, especially for first-time home buyers, beyond tax deductions. Here is a list of eight reasons to buy a home.

How to Cope with Home Buying Stress
How to avoid stress when buying a home. Tips for a stress-free home buying experience.

Should We Do a Wire Transfer or Deposit a Cashier's Check to Close?
Pros and cons of cashier's checks vs. wire transfers. Types of funds required to close on a sale of a home. The problems associated with cashier's checks and wire transfers. Why certified funds are required to close.

Should You Tell Your Buyer's Agent the Highest Price You Will Pay?
How much should you tell your buyer's agent? Information you may want to keep a secret from your buyer's agent, especially when it concerns the highest price you will pay for a home.

Are You Ready to Be a Home Buyer?
Top 5 traits of a buyer. How to tell if you're ready to become a home buyer and finally buy a home -- plus signs that you're not prepared to be a buyer.

How to Buy a Home in Another State
How to buy a home out of state. Top tips for home buying in another state.

What Kind of Questions Should I Ask Before Buying a Home?
Here's a list of questions you need answers on before buying a home. Home buying questions to ask your agent or the seller before writing that offer to buy a home.

Buying a Home On the Internet
Should you buy a home by yourself, looking online for homes, without hiring an agent to represent you? Pros and cons to do-it-yourself home buying.

Six Things to Know About Earnest Money Deposits on Bank-Owned Homes
How earnest money deposits are handled on bank-owned homes. Why some REO lenders make earnest money deposits non-refundable, and how to deal with non-refundable deposits. Get the edge on your REO offer.

About the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit
Explanation of the 2009 $8,000 home buyer tax credit. How to qualify for the home buyer tax credit. Overview of the 2008 $7,500 home buyer tax credit.

How do Real Estate Flipper Schemes Work?
How flipper schemes in real estate work. The parties to a flipper scheme and why it's against the law.

What is a Flipper House?
Definition of a real estate flipper and explanation of how flippers work, including drawbacks for home buyers who buy a flipper.

What is a Fixture?
Figuring out what is a fixture and what is not a fixture. Five tests to determine if property is a fixture and must stay with the house. How personal property becomes a real estate fixture.

Buying a Home The Seller Rented Out
Buying a home that was a rental house can be an excellent deal or a money pit. How to safely buy a rental home as your first home.

How to Buy a Model Home From a Builder
How to buy a model home from a builder and get the best deal. Negotiation tips for buying a model home.

What is a Halfplex?
What is a halplex? A halfplex is not a duplex. Differences between a halfplex and a duplex.

Homes for Sale on the Internet
Looking at homes for sale on the Internet. How to tell if the homes are really for sale. Why for sale signs are sometimes misleading.

After Home Closing, Which Documents Should I Keep?
Important home buying documents to keep after closing on your home. Which documents can be originals and which can be copies. How long to keep home buying documents.

How Can We Tap the Bank of Mom and Dad to Buy a Home?
How to ask your parents to give you money to buy a home. Why parents give children a down payment for home buying and how much money parents can give you.

The Nehemiah Program and FHA Loans
Practical facts about Nehemiah. Using the Nehemiah program gives the buyer a down payment and closing costs -- up to 6% of the sales price -- when used in conjunction with an FHA loan. While Nehemiah marries perfectly with FHA, other types of loans are also permissible under Nehemiah.

Exclusive Buyer Broker Contract Elements
Exclusive buyer broker contract elements. Before signing a buyer broker agreement with a real estate agent, here are the four most important components of the contract to review and consider.

Talk to Neighbors Before Buying a Home
Reasons to talk to neighbors before buying a home. Questions to ask neighbors to find out more about a home buyer's new neighborhood. Why meeting neighbors should be part of your home inspection contingency.

Best Places to Live in America
How to choose the best place to live. If you could live anywhere in the United States, which places would you choose that are best for you? Here's how to help you decide where you would love to live.

Are Those Under Market Value Home Prices Real or Fake?
About homes priced under market value. Don't get fooled by home prices that are too low. How to figure out if a home's price is bogus or fake. Beware of false pricing for under-market-value homes.

Dangers of Using a Listing Agent to See Listings
Reasons to not ask a listing agent to show you a listed home. Pitfalls to calling a listing agent for an appointment to see a home without using that agent to buy it.

What Kind of Paperwork Do I Need to Buy a Home?
Paperwork buyers need to buy a home. Documents mortgage lenders require from home buyers. Explanation of verification of employment (VOE) and whether buyers need to produce tax returns, W2s and bank statements.

How Much Home Can You Afford to Buy?
How much home can first-time home buyers afford? How to set realistic goals for home buying. Tips for selecting that first home so you don't get in over your head.

Home Buying Path A to Z
A to Z home buying path, 18 simple steps for first-time home buyers, from hiring an agent to closing. Complete path to buying a home in easy-to-understand terms.

How to Find Your Neighborhood Businesses
How to find neighborhood businesses in a new area. Adjusting to your new home and getting to know your neighborhood business owners.

Neighborhood Specialists
Why home buyers should hire a neighborhood specialist. Drawbacks to working with an out-of-area real estate agent.

Lease Options and Lease Purchase Sales
Difference between lease options and lease purchase sales. Benefits and drawbacks for lease options. Why lease options can be bad for a home buyer.

Top 10 Ways to Lose Your Home
How to lose your home and fall into foreclosure. Top home buying and home financing mistakes that make home buyers lose their homes and how you can avoid making a home buying mistake.

Buying a Home Guide to Getting Started
Complete A to Z guide to buying a home. From figuring out what you need versus in a home to what you want, to finding an agent to help you with buying a home, cleaning up credit, finding a lender and locating that perfect home to all the final details of buying a home.

The Worst Day to Buy a Home
The worst day of the year for home buying and reasons you might want to avoid buying a home on that day. Pick any other day of the year to close on your home but this day.

Eight Reasons to Buy a Home
There are many benefits to home ownership, especially for first-time home buyers, beyond tax deductions. Here is a list of eight reasons to buy a home.

How to Find the Right Home
How to figure out what you want before meeting with a lender or real estate agent. Here are guidelines that will help you to separate your "wants" from "needs" and streamline the process of finding the right home.

Is it Better to be Buying or Renting a Home?
Not everybody should buy a home. Some potential home buyers should rent and not buy. How can you tell whether it's time to buy? Which factors could make renting a better option?

What Does "Motivated Seller" Mean?
Definition and explanation of the phrase: motivated seller. Are motivated sellers desperate sellers? Varying degrees of seller motivation. How to determine if sellers truly are eager to sell.

Should We Buy a Home Before Marriage or Buy After the Wedding?
Buying a home before the wedding. Tips for home buying with a partner or significant other before tying the knot, plus how to handle the financial details of homeownership without plans to ever marry.

Buying During a Housing Recession
How a housing recession affects homeowners. How to buy a home during a housing recession and safeguard your equity.

Contract Contingencies For Buying a Home
Common purchase contract contingencies to use when buying a home. How to make a contract contingent on appraisal, loan, inspections or other factors important to a buyer.

Releasing Buyer Contingencies
Purchase offer contingencies and how to release contingencies. What happens if contingencies are not released. Types of contingencies, how sellers request releases and consequences of refusal.

Safety Tips For Women Home Buyers
Safety tips for women home buyers. How to buy homes with increased security measures and determine whether a neighborhood is likely to discourage criminal activity.

Single Women Buy Homes, Too!
Record numbers of single women are buying homes. If you're a single woman who wants to buy a house, the good news is the market is wide open for you. Smart sellers market to women, and more sellers are selling homes to single women than ever before in history.

How to Find a Down Payment to Buy a Home
How to get a down payment. 12 Legal ways to find the cash to put down on a home. How much is required for a down payment? How much do you need to put down? If you have good credit, it's zero!

Commission Credits to Home Buyers
Facts and myths about agents crediting commissions to home buyers. Should home buyers ask a listing agent to credit part of the commission to make the deal? Do agents owe home buyers kickbacks?

Buying in a Depressed or Slowing Market
Strategies for buying a home in a depressed real estate market. When real estate prices drop, here are buying tips on how to deal with a falling market of declining prices.

Looking at Homes
Looking at homes for sale involves time. Using your agent for looking at homes on your behalf can weed out unacceptable homes. Here's how to get your agent to preview homes for you and the results you can expect.

What's the Best Way to Pick Price Ranges for a Home Search?
Tricks for selecting price ranges of homes to search. How to make sure you don't miss that perfect home because you selected the wrong price ranges online. Flexibility in pricing and figuring out list prices to sales prices.

10 Tips For Buying a Home Pets Will Love
Guidelines to use before buying homes where pets will live. Top 10 home shopping with pets in mind. How to buy a home your pets will love.

Buying Newer or Older Home?
Home buying new or older homes. Differences between new homes and old homes. Should a first-time home buyer buy a newer home or older? Which is more expensive? How home buyers can make the right choice between older vs. newer.

Relocating and Buying in a New Area
Relocation and buying a home in a new area. When relocating to a new neighborhood or city, it is smart to buy a home right away? How to feel out a new area before buying a home when relocating. Relocation home buying: benefits and pitfalls.

Buying New Home Construction from Builders
Tips for buying into a new subdivision. What rights do buyers have when purchasing new construction from a builder? Is it wise to use the builder's agent and lender? Precautionary steps new home buyers can take to ensure the neighborhood will sustain its value and the buyer's investment is protected.

The Home Closing Process
Time period to close on a home. Explanation of process and time length required to close when buying a home. Ways to speed up your home closing.

Builder Incentives and Seller Concessions
The truth behind builder incentives and seller concessions. How much more do home buyers pay to get incentives and concessions to buy a home? Are incentives and concessions legal?

Looking Twice at Overpriced Homes
When other buyers thumb noses at dated inventory, savvy home buyers can profit by considering homes that have been on the market longer than 30 days. It's not always a case of "something wrong" with the property.

Open House Etiquette for Home Buyers
Etiquette and guidelines for attending open houses. What sellers and real estate agents expect from open house guests. How to make your open house visit productive by following open house do's and don'ts. How to find out if the listing agent is holding the open house.

Senior Living - Active Adult Retirement Communities
Buying a home in active adult retirement communities. Amenities and benefits for seniors offered by active adult retirement subdivisions. Senior living in style for those over age 55. Homeowner association benefits for active adult communities.

Fixer Upper Homes
How to buy a fixer upper home. Analyzing repair costs to fix up a home. Spotting good buys that require cosmetic improvements over major rehab projects.

Reasons to Sell First Before You Buy
Which comes first? Buying or selling? What are the advantages to selling a home first and then buying over doing it the other way around? How do market conditions affect the order in which you sell and buy? Does it ever make sense to sell and rent before buying?

Buying Before Selling - Is it Smart?
Reasons to buy before selling, strategies for buying and selling in a seller's market, when the price is too good to pass up.

Buying Swimming Pool Homes
Pros and cons of buying homes with swimming pools. Types of pool construction. Whether swimming pools add or detract from the market value of a home.

Buying a Home in a Down Market
When real estate prices begin to dip, buyers wonder if they should wait to buy a home. Is that a smart strategy? What are the pitfalls to waiting? Any advantages to waiting to buy a home? Can a buyer time the market?

Buying For Sales By Owners - How to Buy For Sales By Owners
Buying For Sale by Owner Homes. What home buyers need to know when buying For Sales by Owners: writing FSBO offers, negotiating with FSBOs, successfully closing For Sales by Owners transaction without representation by a real estate agent.

Buying For Sale By Owner Short Sales
Buying short sale homes from a seller without an agent. For sale by owners in pre-foreclosure. How to negotiate with an unrepresented seller and the bank to buy a home in foreclosure.

Home Downsizing
Home downsizing: how to buy a smaller home without trading down your lifestyle. Pros and cons to downsizing your home.

Making Purchase Offers on a Home
How much to offer to buy a home. When making offers on a home, how much is too much and how much is too little to offer. Tips for figuring out a reasonable price to offer a home seller.

Making an Offer to Buy a Home
Criteria to use when making an offer to buy a home. Data to help determine the price to pay for a home. Factors that influence home offer prices.

Did the Seller Die in the House?
Would you buy a home if the seller died in the house? Would you feel OK about negotiating a great deal on a stigmatized home? Who buys houses after sellers have died inside? Notorious homes that sold after tragedies.

Buying Flood Insurance
Flood insurance protects your home. How to buy flood insurance. Cost estimate to purchase flood insurance and reasons why you might need flood insurance.

Hiring Buyer's Agents
Should you sign a buyer's broker agreement? Should buying agents show homes to buyers without a signed buyer's broker agreement? How to compromise and negotiate before committing to a buyer's agent.

Buying Homes with Outdoor Kitchens
Buying homes with outdoor kitchens - types of grills, sinks, refrigerators, counters, storage, flooring, water features, pizza ovens and more. Points when buying a home with an outdoor kitchen. How to consider the added value of outdoor kitchens when home buying or remodeling.

Pending Home Sales Gone Bad
Why do pending home sales go bad? What makes pending sales fall out of escrow? Here are reasons why pending sales go back on the market. Advice on how to keep a home sale from falling apart.

Garage Trends and Garage Remodels
Garages are back in favor. Home buyers demand functional garages and garage organization kits / extra storage space. How to fix-up your garage. New garage design ideas.

Before Buying a Short Sale
Tips for buying a short sale. Before you buy a short sale, read about your rights as a buyer. Why the seller's lender needs to approve a short sale; how to avoid short sale blues.

Three Major Home Buying Mistakes
How to avoid messing up your real estate transaction. Here are major home buying mistakes and blunders that agents often forget to warn buyers about.

Bad Home Layouts - How You Can Avoid Buying a Home With a Bad Layout?
What constitutes a good home layout? How to spot trouble layouts before buying a home. What types of layouts turnoff home buyers and cost sellers potential profit? How can you avoid buying a home with a bad layout?

Hot Buttons for Home Buyers - Which Homes Do Home Buyers Find Hot?
What are today's home buyers' hot buttons? Which features and home design do home buyers demand? What types of homes do they buy? What's hot right now?

Listing Agents & Selling Agents: Do You Need Two Agents to Buy & Sell?
How many agents do you need to buy and sell? Is it better to hire a selling agent to buy and a different listing agent to sell? If one agent handles both transactions, what's in it for you? What are the benefits to hiring two agents?

Things to Buy After Buying a Home
After you buy a home, here is a budget for things you will need to buy to stock the home. Many new home owners don't think about the hidden costs of home ownership or what they will need to buy after closing.

Buying a Home With Bad Credit
How to buy a home with bad credit, even if you have filed bankruptcy or gone through a foreclosure. Comparing the difference in rates over a variety of FICO scores. How to get an FHA loan after foreclosure.

Home Buyer Possession - What is Buyer Possession?
How are seller vacating and buyer move-ins orchestrated? When do sellers move out? When can a home buyer move in? What is actual possession and early possession? Should a seller rent back before giving possession?

When is the Best Time to Buy a Home?
If you could pick any day of the year to buy a home, do you know which day is best? We do. Under what conditions are sellers most likely to sign a low offer? On which days can you get the best deal of the year? How the pros often make a killing in the real estate market.

Home Warranty - What is a Home Warranty Plan?
Explanation of home warranty coverage and plans. What do home warranty programs / home protection plans protect? What is covered and what is excluded from coverage? How to ask a seller to pay for a home protection plan.

Protect Your Earnest Money Deposit
Explains how much of an earnest money deposit is required and why buyers submit good faith deposits with offers. Why trust accounts are essential and whom a buyer can trust. How does a buyer get the money back if the transaction does not close? How can a buyer lose her deposit?

Buyer's Broker Agreements and Contracts
Buyer's broker agreements, authorization to represent buyers known as buyer representation; discussion of three common types of buyer broker agreements, including pointers on terms, conditions and duration.

Habitat for Humanity - Volunteer, Sponsor or become Habitat Home Owner
Three common myths about Habitat for Humanity. How to volunteer, become a sponsor or apply for home ownership through Habitat for Humanity. How does Habitat for Humanity work?

Demir Barlas
Demir Barlas bio

Biography of Tim Johnson
Biography of Tim Johnson, managing editor at Relocation.com

Helen Kaiao Chang
Helen Kaiao Chang bio

Is This a Good Time for Homebuying?
How to assess whether this a good time for homebuying. How to tell if the time is right for you to buy a home. Does the real estate market have to be a buyer's market or a seller's market for homebuying?

Buying a Home With Good Resale Value
How to get your money back out of a home by buying a home with good resale value. Why resale value is an important consideration before buying a home.

Should You Buy a Home That Was Remodeled Without Permits?
What happens if you remodel or make an addition to your home without pulling a permit? Answers to whether you can sell a home with non-permitted improvements. What kind of trouble can a buyer get into by buying a home that was remodeled without a permit?

Can We Buy a New House and Short Sale Our Old Home?
Is it legal to buy a new second home and then do a short sale of your existing or first home? How to buy a new home when you need to short sale your old home.

How to Buy a Cheap Foreclosure
Ways to buy a cheap foreclosure at a bargain price. How a bank determines the price of a foreclosure, and why not every foreclosure is a cheap buy.

The Roommate Nobody Wants to Live With
Safety first when searching for a roommate. The nightmare roommate. How the roommate can help to pay your mortgage. Tips for sharing a home with a roommate or renting out a room to a roommate.

How to Buy the Worst House on the Best Block
Why buying the worst house on the best block is excellent advice and still true today. Professional tips and advice on how to buy the worst house on the best block.

Home Buying Without an Agent
What are the risks of home buying without an agent? How to buy a for sale by owner without hiring an agent.

10 Ways to Know You Found the Right House
Here are 10 ways to know that you have found the right house. Take the stress and worry out of home buying by recognizing the signs that you should buy this house.

How Much Do We Need as a Down Payment to Buy a Home?
What is the minimum down payment required to buy a home? How to choose the loan with the lowest down payment for home buying. How to calculate the down payment amount that is right for you as a first-time home buyer.

Should I Wait for Interest Rates to Go Down if Sales Prices are Going Up?
Which is more important when buying a house -- interest rates or sales prices? Should I wait for interest rates to go down if sales prices are going up?

One Story vs a Two-Story Home: Which is Better to Buy?
Pros and cons of buying a one-story home vs. a two-story home. Which is better to buy -- a one story or a two-story home? Do two-story homes hold their value better?

How to Know When to Offer List Price to the Seller
As a home buyer, is it stupid to offer list price to the seller? When is it better to negotiate a purchase offer? How to know when you should give the seller the price the seller is asking.http://homebuyingadmin.about.com/cgi/acme/quicktip/quicktip.cgi

Should You Buy a Home With Popcorn Ceilings?
Are popcorn ceilings dangerous? Tips for buying a home with a popcorn ceiling. How to test your popcorn ceiling for asbestos and safely remove the textured ceiling.

How Can Buyers Buy a Home During a Spring Home Buying Frenzy?
Tried and true tips for buying a home in the spring. Why spring time home buying is a popular time to buy and tips for beating the competition. Why multiple offers are a bone of contention with spring-time home buyers.

What Are Comparable Sales?
Explanation of comparable sales. Tips for how to find comps and why you need to know the comparable sales before buying a home. How to use comparable sales for selling a home.

A Complete List of Home Amenities and Features for Home Buyers
List of home amenities and features to consider when buying a home. How to help your agent establish home search parameters to find you the perfect home to buy.

Tips for Home Buying in a Sizzling Hot Seller's Market
Tips for home buyers on writing an offer and getting that offer accepted in a seller's market. How home buyers can get the edge in a multiple offer situation. Is your real estate agent sabotaging your efforts to buy a home in a sellers market?

Is My Type of Loan an Advantage or Disadvantage in a Purchase Offer?
The purchase offer edge for a mortgage loan advantage. The hierarchy of mortgage loans when making a purchase offer. What makes one type of purchase offer better than another when ranked against each other by the type of loan?

Is it OK to Pay Over List Price for a Home?
Should you over pay for a home? When is it OK to offer a price that is higher than the amount the seller is asking for a home?

Is it Possible to Be Selling a Home and Buying a Home at the Same Time?
Why it is difficult to seller a home at the same time you buy a home. Tips for buying a home when selling a home in a seller's market that are different than buying and selling a home in a buyer's market.

Can I Bypass the Listing Agent and Call a Seller?
Can a home buyer bypass the listing agent and contact a seller directly? What if the home buyer has a buyer's agent, can the buyer still call the seller? Is it legal to by pass agents?

How Long Does it Take for Signing Home Buying Documents?
Types of legal real estate documents a home buyer signs at closing, and why it takes so long for signing home buying documents.

Should You Talk to a Lender First or a Real Estate Agent?
As your first steps to buying a home, should you get preapproved by a lender first or should you find a real estate agent to work with first, or does it even matter?

Does it Add Value to Do a Room Addition?
Before doing a room addition, do your homework. Types of room additions that are easy to do and increase the value of your home. Things to know about doing a room addition before you get in over your head.

How to Protect Yourself From Getting Locked Out of the House
How to make sure you are never locked out of the house. Preventative measures to protect against getting locked out of the house. How to get in to your house if you get locked out.

Privacy Issues When Home Buying
Tips for protecting your privacy when buying a home. The types of personal information a real estate agent can gather about a home buyer without the home buyer's knowledge.

Buying a Home With Creative Financing
How to buy a home using creative financing after the Dodd-Frank Act.

Mobile Signers Come to Your House
How to get a mobile signer to come to your house to sign closing documents instead of going to the title company or place of closing.

How to Communicate With Your Real Estate Agent
Ways to effectively communicate with your real estate agent to improve your home buying experience and lessen frustrations.

Top 3 First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes
First-time home buyers might believe they know exactly how to buy a home until they actually go out into the marketplace and mess up. Here is how to avoid making mistakes.

The Best Place to Find Homes for Sale
Best websites to use to find homes for sale online, and which websites to avoid. Why some popular home buying websites are not useful for finding homes to buy.

How Many Real Estate Agents Can a Buyer Work With?
The maximum number of real estate agents a buyer can work with and still stay within the industry norm.

Should You Write an Offer Before Seeing a Home?
Reasons to see a home before writing an offer and what can happen if you write an offer sight unseen.

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