Buyers: Keep the dream alive after foreclosure
Lost your home to foreclosure? In most cases, that won't keep you from owning another home as far into the future as you likely feared. It's true that a foreclosure can remain on your credit record for up to seven years, but government-backed mortgage guarantors Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA typically impose just a minimum of just three years
before they'll back another home loan -- if your foreclosure was due to extenuating circumstances such as job loss, relocation or illness. Next time, you might be asked for a bigger down payment, as much as 20 percent, and slightly higher interest rates. So start saving now.
Buyers and sellers: Set your goals in writing
Certainly you should get all relevant real estate promises in writing, but that's not where we're headed. Keep a log of the entire process of buying or selling a home
, including your objectives, home-tour dates, buyer and seller feedback, offers, expenses, contracts, repairs, contractors hired, agent communiques, neighborhood observations, everything. It will give you a clearer picture of what you've done, what you're doing and what to do next. Studies have shown that goals are more likely to become reality if you write them than if you don't.
Don't leave yourself open to heartbreak. Buyers pursuing heavily discounted short-sale and auction homes should research several prospects, because there may be plenty of other suitors. Many a would-be buyer has been left at the altar of lofty expectations after watching another guy or gal swoop up that perfect home at the last minute for just a little more money. Most successful auction winners and short-sale buyers start out by targeting several homes so they won't be left in the lurch if, or when, one deal falls apart. With so many parties involved in these transactions, including brokers, agents, lawyers, loss mitigators, appraisers, lenders, special servicers and inspectors, a lot can go wrong. Some Realtors estimate only about one-fifth of attempted short sales are successful.
Buyers: Play the field
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