Buy Your Dream Home

Whether you're buying a home on the market, or building a brand new house, learn how to finance a new home, find the perfect place, and make a competitive offer.

Co-borrower vs cosigner: Which is better?
Mortgage & Financing
Co-borrower vs cosigner: Which is better?

A co-borrower takes out the loan with you and is equally responsible for it. A cosigner signs the loan with you but is only responsible if you neglect to pay.

Baseboard heating vs. forced air: Which is better for your house?
Buying Your First Home
Baseboard heating vs. forced air: Which is better for your house?

Although it's costly to install, forced air is the preferable method of heating your home compared to baseboard heaters, which are less energy efficient.

Your guide to FHA loans
Mortgage & Financing
Your guide to FHA loans

FHA loans are backed by the government and have less strict requirements compared to conventional loans.

What does turnkey mean?
Buying Your First Home
What does turnkey mean?

Turnkey real estate refers to move-in-ready homes and properties that don't require repairs or renovations. This makes them particularly desirable to investors.

What is hypothecation in real estate?
Mortgage & Financing
What is hypothecation in real estate?

Hypothecation is when one party agrees to use an asset as collateral in exchange for the loan, and it occurs commonly in mortgages.

Does my home need an air quality inspection?
Home Inspections & Appraisals
Does my home need an air quality inspection?

Home inspections can identify any severe air quality issues, and if they persist you'll need to find a professional to conduct an indoor air quality inspection.

19 questions you need to ask when buying a house
Buying Your First Home
19 questions you need to ask when buying a house

Here are the top 19 questions every homebuyer should ask themself, their agent, and the seller to ensure that they've covered all their bases.

Do I need a well inspection?
Buying Your First Home
Do I need a well inspection?

A well inspection involves testing a home's water source for purity and quanity to ensure the water is safe to drink and that there's enough of it.

11 documents you need for a mortgage application
Buying Your First Home
11 documents you need for a mortgage application

Mortgage applications require documents demonstrating your personal details, credit, income, and assets, as well as information about the house you're buying.

7 signs a house will collapse
Buying Your First Home
7 signs a house will collapse

A house may collapse if you see signs of structural issues, like sagging walls, uneven floors, leaking roofs, or visible cracks.

Well water vs. city water: What’s the difference?
Buying Your First Home
Well water vs. city water: What’s the difference?

Well water is a private form of water that comes an aquifer on your property, while city water is a public water source that is managed by the government.

What is a half bath?
Buying Your First Home
What is a half bath?

A half bathroom is a bathroom that contains a toilet and a sink. Full bathrooms, on the other hand, include four elements: a toilet, sink, shower, and bathtub.

Radon gas in homes: What you need to know
Home Inspections & Appraisals
Radon gas in homes: What you need to know

The presence of radon doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, especially if there’s a radon mitigation system in the home. It just helps to be prepared.

Checklist: Things to buy for a new house
Buying Your First Home
Checklist: Things to buy for a new house

To help narrow your focus before you hit the shops, keep reading for our list of things to buy for a new house.

What's considered unethical real estate agent behavior?
Finding an Agent
What's considered unethical real estate agent behavior?

No matter where you are in the home buying or selling process, it’s important to educate yourself about what qualifies as unethical or illegal behavior.

What is a real estate referral fee?
Finding an Agent
What is a real estate referral fee?

There are a few different reasons why agents or brokers might refer a customer to another real estate professional instead of accepting them as a client.

What is a balloon mortgage & how do balloon payments work?
Mortgage & Financing
What is a balloon mortgage & how do balloon payments work?

A balloon payment is an extra-large payment due at the end of the loan term. Balloon mortgages have some benefits but aren't right for most homebuyers.

Can I work with multiple real estate agents?
Preparing to Buy
Can I work with multiple real estate agents?

You can work with multiple real estate agents if you haven’t signed an exclusive contract. However, working with multiple agents is generally frowned upon.

Do houses come with appliances?
Buying Your First Home
Do houses come with appliances?

Whether or not an appliance come with a house depends on the type of home, the homeowner's preferences, and if the appliance is considered a fixture.

Your guide to buying a house as a married couple
Buying Your First Home
Your guide to buying a house as a married couple

Except in community property states, a married couple can apply for mortgages, pay for a house, and title a house under the name of just one spouse.

How to make an offer on a house
Offers & Negotiation
How to make an offer on a house

Your offer is more than just your purchase price, it also dictates the terms and conditions for the transaction. Here's how to craft a winning offer.

What to know before buying a house in a flood zone
Buying Your First Home
What to know before buying a house in a flood zone

Just because a house is in a flood zone doesn’t mean you should rule out buying, you just have to prepare your offer and consider the future accordingly.

7 things not to do after closing on a house
Closing on a Home
7 things not to do after closing on a house

What you do during and after closing can make your first year as a homeowner a pain or jeopardize your home sale. Here's what not to do after closing on a home.

What affects mortgage rates?
Buying Your First Home
What affects mortgage rates?

Mortgage rates change daily based on many factors, some of which you can control but many of which you can’t.

What is loan-to-value ratio?
Mortgage & Financing
What is loan-to-value ratio?

LTV is the ratio of your loan compared to the value of the asset it is used to purchase, and it's just as important for borrowers as it is for lenders.

Do medical bills affect your credit when buying a house?
Buying Your First Home
Do medical bills affect your credit when buying a house?

As of July 1, 2022 medical debt will begin to impact consumers’ credit scores in fewer ways.

How does an interest-only mortgage work — and is it worth it?
Mortgage & Financing
How does an interest-only mortgage work — and is it worth it?

Interest-only mortgages have two phases: making small payments and then much larger ones, which can make this type of loan unaffordable if you're not careful.

Can closing costs be included in a VA loan?
VA Loans
Can closing costs be included in a VA loan?

VA loans have slightly different rules and requirements than conventional loans when it comes to closing costs, so it’s important to understand how they work.

What does off-market mean?
Preparing to Buy
What does off-market mean?

If you’ve browsed listings and seen a beautiful home listed as “off-market,” you might have assumed you missed your chance to buy. That's not always the case.

What is an FHA construction loan?
Mortgage & Financing
What is an FHA construction loan?

FHA construction loans are three-in-one mortgages that cover land purchase, construction costs, and permanent financing for those who want to build a home.

How, and how much, do mortgage brokers get paid?
Mortgage & Financing
How, and how much, do mortgage brokers get paid?

Before you agree to work with a mortgage broker, you'll want to find out what you might owe for their services. The answer depends on how the broker is paid.

What is a mortgage contingency?
Mortgage & Financing
What is a mortgage contingency?

A mortgage contingency in a closing contract releases the buyer if they cannot secure financing. Here's what you need to know about this important clause.

6 reading nook ideas
Home Improvement
6 reading nook ideas

You can build a reading nook even if you're short on space. Here are six ideas to get started.

How much over asking price should I offer on a home?
Buying Your First Home
How much over asking price should I offer on a home?

You may need to offer above asking price in a seller's market, especially if there are multiple offers — but you can make your offer stand out in other ways.

How to get a mortgage when you're self-employed
Mortgage & Financing
How to get a mortgage when you're self-employed

Self-employed workers, including contractors and freelancers, may have less predictable incomes but that doesn't mean they can't qualify for a good mortgage.

What is a jumbo loan — and do you need one?
Mortgage & Financing
What is a jumbo loan — and do you need one?

Any mortgage over a specific dollar amount set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency is called a jumbo loan. The cutoff for jumbo loans is updated each year.

What to know about property liens and if your house has one
Buying Before Selling
What to know about property liens and if your house has one

Buying a house with a lien may not be the best option for all homeowners, since they may then need to pay off the debts in addition to their own mortgage loan.

What states pay you to move there?
Buying Before Selling
What states pay you to move there?

If you’re looking to relocate, here’s a closer look at states that pay you to move there and how much you can earn. 

Is it worth buying a fire-damaged house?
Buying Your First Home
Is it worth buying a fire-damaged house?

Buying a fire-damaged house can be worthwhile if the damage is not extensive, and you can afford the cost of restoration to make the home livable.

Should I buy a house with foundation issues?
Closing on a Home
Should I buy a house with foundation issues?

Buying a house with foundation problems can be daunting, but not all foundation issues need to be deal-breakers. Here's everything you need to know.

Should I buy a house with termites?
Buying Your First Home
Should I buy a house with termites?

When it comes to buying a home with termites, consider the extent of the damage, the costs of repairs, and how major those repairs need to be.

Should you cosign a mortgage?
Mortgage & Financing
Should you cosign a mortgage?

Cosigning a mortgage is a financial responsibility with no tangible benefits for the cosigner. Still, you may choose to cosign. Here's what you need to know.

What is an adjustable-rate mortgage?
Mortgage & Financing
What is an adjustable-rate mortgage?

An adjustable-rate mortgage, is a home loan with an interest rate that can go up or down, depending on what interest rates are like in the economy as a whole.

 What is a prepayment penalty on a mortgage?
Mortgage & Financing
What is a prepayment penalty on a mortgage?

Some lenders include a prepayment penalty clause in your loan agreement, which is applied if you pay off your mortgage debt in full within the first few years.

How to choose the right location when buying a house
Preparing to Buy
How to choose the right location when buying a house

Homebuyers often wonder if it’s better to buy a fixer-upper in a good neighborhood or a turnkey home in a bad one. There’s no obvious answer to that question.

Mortgage broker vs. lender: What’s the difference?
Mortgage & Financing
Mortgage broker vs. lender: What’s the difference?

While both a broker and a lender can help you acquire a mortgage, they play separate roles in the market for home loans, and you'll want to know the difference.

Can you buy a house after bankruptcy?
Mortgage & Financing
Can you buy a house after bankruptcy?

Yes, you can buy a house after bankruptcy. You’ll get your house, but it might just take a little longer than you hoped.

What is the house closing process?
Closing on a Home
What is the house closing process?

The closing process has many moving parts and steps to complete before the seller relinquishes ownership and you become the official owner of your new home.

What to know about buying a house with tenants
Offers & Negotiation
What to know about buying a house with tenants

Buying a house with tenants can be convenient, but it can also lead to problems. Understand tenants rights, and yours when the landlord sells the property.

What is mortgage underwriting?
Mortgage & Financing
What is mortgage underwriting?

Underwriting is the last step of the mortgage approval process where the lender determines whether to extend the borrower a loan.

Is it cheaper to build or buy a house?
Buying a New Construction Home
Is it cheaper to build or buy a house?

Under the right circumstances you can save money by building a house instead of buying an existing home, but only if you don’t go overboard.

What is a loan origination fee and who pays for it?
Closing on a Home
What is a loan origination fee and who pays for it?

A loan origination fee is an upfront fee a lender charges to the borrower, but rates can vary. Here's everything you need to know to avoid overpaying.

Should you buy a fixer-upper or move-in ready house?
Buying Your First Home
Should you buy a fixer-upper or move-in ready house?

Learn more about the pros and cons of buying a fixer-upper or a move-in ready house to make an informed decision about your home purchase.

What is a cash-out refinance?
Mortgage & Financing
What is a cash-out refinance?

A cash-out refinance loan replaces your existing mortgage with a new one for more than you currently owe on your home to put money in your pocket. Here's how.

10 questions to ask the home builder when buying a new construction
Buying a New Construction Home
10 questions to ask the home builder when buying a new construction

The fact that nobody has lived in a new construction home has its pros and cons. As such, it’s up to you to ask the right questions of the builder beforehand.

What is a buyer-broker agreement?
Finding an Agent
What is a buyer-broker agreement?

The buyer-broker agreement protects both buyer and agent by clearing up any misconceptions about how you’ll pay an agent and what they’ll do for you.

Modular homes vs manufactured homes: What's the difference?
Buying Your First Home
Modular homes vs manufactured homes: What's the difference?

Unlike traditional homes, modular and manufactured homes are both built in a factory offsite — to an extent.

A guide to using home equity to buy a new house
Mortgage & Financing
A guide to using home equity to buy a new house

Homeowners who have built up equity may want to tap into that asset when buying a new house. Our guide shows you how to make your home equity work for you.

What to know about homeownership and wealth
Buying Your First Home
What to know about homeownership and wealth

Despite rising home prices and interest rates, buying a house continues to be one of the smartest financial investments for those looking to build their wealth.

What is a home warranty — and is having one worth it?
Preparing to Buy
What is a home warranty — and is having one worth it?

While a home warranty can be a good safety net against expensive, unforeseen repairs, getting one is not always the most financially sound decision.

Can you buy a house on Amazon?
Preparing to Buy
Can you buy a house on Amazon?

Everyone knows that one site where you can buy everything. Does that include your next home? Not unless you like living small.

What to know about buying a house on contract
Mortgage & Financing
What to know about buying a house on contract

When you buy a house on contract, you make a real estate transaction directly with the seller and pay them back in installments until you own the property.

City vs suburb: Where should I live?
Preparing to Buy
City vs suburb: Where should I live?

Both cities and suburbs have key advantages and disadvantages to consider, but chances are one will meet your needs better than the other.

How to shop around for a mortgage
Mortgage & Financing
How to shop around for a mortgage

Mortgage shopping gives you a clearer picture of your financing options and lets you feel confident in your loan choice, given the available alternatives.

Should I buy a house with mold?
Home Inspections & Appraisals
Should I buy a house with mold?

Buying a house with mold may not be worth your health, time, or money depending on how extensive the contamination is.

A guide to pest inspections
Home Inspections & Appraisals
A guide to pest inspections

Pest inspections provide an examination of your property to evaluate signs of unwelcome critters and provide recommendations for dealing with them.

The best places to live in Phoenix, Arizona
Arizona
The best places to live in Phoenix, Arizona

This list breaks down the amenities and draws of the best places to live in the Phoenix, Arizona area, from diverse neighborhoods to golf-happy suburbs.

Can you use an SBA loan to buy a house?
Mortgage & Financing
Can you use an SBA loan to buy a house?

You can buy property with an SBA loan, but there are some considerations you should note before purchasing a building with this type of financing.

Your guide to buying a house with a pool
Preparing to Buy
Your guide to buying a house with a pool

Pools are work. Our guide breaks down everything you need to know about pool ownership, so you don't end up wishing that you never bought a house with a pool.

Can you change jobs while buying a house?
Buying Your First Home
Can you change jobs while buying a house?

While you can change jobs when buying a house, you may not want to. Changing jobs can affect your mortgage eligibility and not always in a good way.

Your guide to buying a house in Arizona
Arizona
Your guide to buying a house in Arizona

Buying a house in Arizona can be competitive, but the state offers programs to help first-time buyers.

What are ‘power buyers’ in real estate?
Preparing to Buy
What are ‘power buyers’ in real estate?

Power buyers are companies that help prospective homebuyers make competitive offers and stand out in a crowded real estate market.

Can you buy a house without a real estate agent?
Buying Your First Home
Can you buy a house without a real estate agent?

Technically you don’t need a Realtor to buy a house, but it’s probably for the best. A local agent has insight into the neighborhood and market.

How to back out of the deal after a bad home inspection
Home Inspections & Appraisals
How to back out of the deal after a bad home inspection

When it comes to bad inspections, you have to decide how much risk, negotiation, and additional investment you’re comfortable with for a house you love.

8 common mortgage scams — and how to spot them
Mortgage & Financing
8 common mortgage scams — and how to spot them

If you're choosing a home loan or considering a refinance, there's a lot of money at stake, so it's very important to be on your guard against mortgage scams.

How to buy a home through a probate sale
Preparing to Buy
How to buy a home through a probate sale

Everyone likes a good deal, and probate sales can offer an opportunity to save money on a home that isn’t going through the traditional sales process. 

Refinancing a VA loan: What are your options?
Mortgage & Financing
Refinancing a VA loan: What are your options?

Buying a house with a government-backed VA loan is a smart decision if you qualify, but what happens if you want to refinance? Here are your best options.

 Buying a House As a Non-U.S. Citizen: What You Should Know
Preparing to Buy
Buying a House As a Non-U.S. Citizen: What You Should Know

Buying a house in the States as a non-U.S. citizen is complex, but it's possible. We break down this multifaceted issue and point you to the resources you need.

How Soon Can You Refinance After Buying a House?
Mortgage & Financing
How Soon Can You Refinance After Buying a House?

Depending on the type of loan you have, you may be eligible to refinance as soon as you close on your home.

What to Look for During the Final Walkthrough of Your New Home
Closing on a Home
What to Look for During the Final Walkthrough of Your New Home

As tempting as it is to rush the final walkthrough, it’s important to be methodical, as this is your last chance to catch any issues in the home before closing.

How to Appeal a Home Appraisal If It Comes in Low
Home Inspections & Appraisals
How to Appeal a Home Appraisal If It Comes in Low

Low home appraisals aren’t a common occurrence, but they do happen. Don't panic: You may have some recourse. Learn how to review and appeal your appraisal.

At What Point Do You Buy Homeowners Insurance When Buying a Home?
Closing on a Home
At What Point Do You Buy Homeowners Insurance When Buying a Home?

You can purchase a homeowners insurance policy at any time during the closing process. But you should have it in place at least a few days prior to closing.

How Long Is a Home Appraisal Good For?
Home Inspections & Appraisals
How Long Is a Home Appraisal Good For?

Home appraisals don't technically expire. But if you wait too long, your lender might not accept it. Read on to learn how long your appraisal is valid.

Can You Buy a Home Using a Personal Loan?
Mortgage & Financing
Can You Buy a Home Using a Personal Loan?

While personal loans are much flexible, they usually come with higher interest rates, shorter repayment terms, and smaller loan amounts than mortgage loans.

What is a desktop appraisal — and should you be comfortable using ne?
Home Inspections & Appraisals
What is a desktop appraisal — and should you be comfortable using ne?

A new method for home appraisals uses technology to make this part of the process faster, cheaper, and more efficient.

Is There an Age Minimum When Buying a Home?
Buying Your First Home
Is There an Age Minimum When Buying a Home?

If you’re young and want to buy your first home, let's look at how age can impact the process, even if it isn’t legally standing in your way.

6 Things to Be Careful of When Buying a Home With an Unmarried Partner
Preparing to Buy
6 Things to Be Careful of When Buying a Home With an Unmarried Partner

From credit issues to cohabitation agreements, there are many potential pitfalls to avoid when buying a house with a girlfriend, boyfriend, or other partner.

Using an LLC to Buy a Home: What You Need to Know
Preparing to Buy
Using an LLC to Buy a Home: What You Need to Know

Forming an LLC essentially keeps your business life separate from your personal life, which has different perks for different people when buying property.

What’s the ideal credit score to have when buying a home?
Preparing to Buy
What’s the ideal credit score to have when buying a home?

While this question boils down to “high credit score is good, low credit score is bad,” you can still qualify for a mortgage even if your credit isn't great.

How to Build Equity in Your Home
Mortgage & Financing
How to Build Equity in Your Home

In this article, we'll cover what home equity is and how to calculate it. We'll also talk about the reasons home equity can go up or down.

Lender Credits and Discount Points: How Do They Work?
Mortgage & Financing
Lender Credits and Discount Points: How Do They Work?

Let's cover how discount points and lender credits for your mortgage work, as well as explore situations where it makes sense to choose one over the other.

How to Calculate Buying Someone Out of a House
Offers & Negotiation
How to Calculate Buying Someone Out of a House

Deciding what to do with a major asset like a house when a personal relationship breaks down is a challenge. These are your options for if that day comes.

15 Smart Questions to Ask the Seller When Buying a House
Offers & Negotiation
15 Smart Questions to Ask the Seller When Buying a House

If you have burning questions that come to mind when buying a home, don’t be afraid to ask the property's seller directly. Here are some good ones.

Title and Deed: What’s the Difference?
Preparing to Buy
Title and Deed: What’s the Difference?

A title is a legal term that refers to ownership of something. The deed is the actual legal document that transfers a property title from one person to another.

The best places to live in Seattle, Washington
Seattle
The best places to live in Seattle, Washington

This list of the best neighborhoods in and suburbs near Seattle, Washington is useful for young professionals, families, and older folks alike.

What to do if your mortgage becomes unaffordable
Mortgage & Financing
What to do if your mortgage becomes unaffordable

An unaffordable mortgage puts you in a vulnerable position, but there are ways forward if you stay in touch with your mortgage servicer.

Can You Get a Home Loan If You Owe Taxes?
Mortgage & Financing
Can You Get a Home Loan If You Owe Taxes?

While tax debt doesn’t make buying a home impossible, it does make the process more difficult. Let’s examine your options for buying when you have back taxes.

What Is a Down Payment — And What Should Yours Be?
Mortgage & Financing
What Is a Down Payment — And What Should Yours Be?

Before you start a mortgage application, you should understand how a down payment works and know what amount of money would be reasonable to put down.

What Is a Starter Home, and Should You Buy One?
Buying Before Selling
What Is a Starter Home, and Should You Buy One?

First-time home buyers often ask themselves if they want to begin their homeownership journey with a starter home or if they should hold out for a forever home.

The Best Places To Live in Portland, Oregon
Portland
The Best Places To Live in Portland, Oregon

These are some of the best places to buy a house and start building your home in Portland, Oregon, one of the gems of America's Pacific Northwest.