Ways to Hold a Title

How to Hold a Title

A title provides proof of ownership on a property, in addition to a physical description of the property. It will also have any liens that are on the property in certain situations. There are four different ways that you can hold a title.

  1. Sole ownership

There are a few ways that you can hold a sole ownership title. They are:

  • If you are an unmarried man or woman, your title should read single man or single woman
  • If you are a man or woman who has been married but is now legally divorced, your title should read unmarried man or unmarried woman
  • If you are married but wish to be the sole person on a title, your spouse needs to consent and relinquish all rights. Your title should ready a married man/woman, as his/her sole and separate property
  1. Joint Tenancy

There are two main forms of joint tenancy. They are:

  • Community property. Under community property, a property is acquired by either the husband and wife during the marriage. The property can be received through a gift, devise and descent, by bequest to them, or as a separate property of either. Either spouse can have the right to dispose of their half of the property or will it to another person.
  • Traditional Joint Tenancy. A traditional joint tenancy occurs when there is a joint and equal interest in land owned by two or more individuals. This is created under a single instrument with the right of survivorship. Under traditional joint tenancy, your title will read joint tenants.
  1. Tenancy in Common

Similar to joint tenancy, tenancy in common occurs when co-owners have an undivided interest or have equal rights to the property. However, where is differs is that tenants in common hold title individually for their share of the property. Additionally, there is no right of survivorship and no other tenants can receive a person’s share of the property. Instead, the property goes to the owner’s heirs. If you choose to have a tenancy in common, your title would read tenants in common.

  1. Trust

A living trust holds legal title to the real estate. A trustee holds the title for the trustor or beneficiary, while they retain all management rights and responsibilities.

Seven Items to Purchase for Your First Home

What to Purchase for Your New Home

Buying a new home can be a tedious task, even after you get the home. If you are a first-time homeowner, you are now faced with the decision to purchase furniture to furnish your whole home. If this task seems daunting, here are a few things that you should purchase first to get you started.

  1. A bed

You spend about a third of your life in bed, so you should definitely put a lot of thought into the bed you purchase. Your bed should be comfortable and well-constructed. However, don’t assume the most expensive bed is the best. Spend some time in the furniture store going through the different options to find which is best for you. If you can’t afford to purchase a bed right away, you can use an air bed for a short period of time. After you purchase your bed, you can use the airbed for the guest room.

  1. A sofa

A sofa is also very important for your home, as it typically becomes the central sitting piece in your home. Don’t settle for the cheapest piece that you find. You’re going to want to be comfortable whenever you have guests over or if you’re lounging watching television or reading a book. Loose back cushion couches look more casual, however, tight-backed couches require less maintenance.

  1. Dining room table

Most dining room tables are rectangular or circular. Consider purchasing a table that extends out to seat more people if you have more company coming over. Figure out what type of table will fit best into the space that you have.

  1. Dining chairs

If you have a dining room table, you’re going to need chairs to sit on while you eat! They should be comfortable enough that you can sit and eat a long meal in them. Typically, wooden chairs are inexpensive, but they aren’t as comfortable as upholstered chairs. You can also consider purchasing armchairs to use as dining chairs. These can be brought into your living room if you are having more company and need extra seating.

  1. Side tables

Side tables are a necessity in your new home. They are great for placing down drinking glasses or food, or for magazines, books, or the television remote. You could also create a coffee table with a set of small tables so that they are able to be moved wherever they are needed. Side tables also work well next to your bed.

  1. Lighting

If the lighting in your home is harsh, you may want to consider installing dimmers on the wall switches. Additionally, consider placing floor and table lamps around seating areas. The lamp shade should be made of a sheer fabric so that more light can get through.

  1. Window treatments

Window treatments not only add privacy to your home but also style. If you’re not sure what your decorating scheme is going to be throughout your home, consider sticking with neutral colors for the window treatments so they will match will everything.

What is Verification of Income and Assets?

In order to get pre-approved for a mortgage, a mortgage lender will need to verify your income and assets. This will help to determine how much of a mortgage you can afford. It will also help determine what your interest rate will be.

What is Verification of Income?

A mortgage lender requests verification of income to see if you have the means to pay your mortgage payments each month. To confirm your income, a mortgage lender will request a few documents. Typically, you will need two years of W-2s, two years of tax returns, both federal and income, and two of your most recent pay stubs. In addition to this, you should also have ready:

  • Most recent checking account statements
  • Current savings account statements
  • Monthly debt obligations
  • Other loans in your name, including personal, student, and auto loans
  • Most recent credit card statement

To verify your income, the lender may contact your employer directly to confirm your employment. This gives the lender the opportunity to verify the information on your W-2 and pay stubs to ensure it reflects your income amount.

If you are self-employed, you’ll need to show the lender proof of a steady income. This can be shown through a quarterly or year-to-date profit/loss statement and at least two years’ worth of your business and personal federal and income tax returns.

It’s possible that forms of income verifications and document requirements can vary depending on your financial situation, so be sure to confirm with your lender what you will need to provide.

What is Verification of Assets?

Lenders will also want to verify that you will be able to pay the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance in the case of a financial emergency. This is determined by your assets. Liquid assets are those that are easily converted to cash, such as savings accounts, checking accounts, and stocks. Examples of documents you might have to submit to verify your liquid assets are:

Cash can be considered a liquid asset, but it must be seasoned. This means that the cash has been in a checking or savings account for a longer period of time, typically at least two months. Most lenders will want to see at least six months’ worth of liquid assets to plan for an unforeseen financial issue.

You can also submit non-liquid assets, which are assets that are harder to convert to cash, such as property, self-owned businesses, or artwork. However, these might be harder to liquidate in an emergency.

Five Mistakes New Homeowners Make

Mistakes New Homeowners Make

It can be daunting when deciding how to decorate your new home. If you don’t know where to start, here are five things that you should avoid doing to help get you started.

  1. Keeping the current layout

You don’t need to keep the layout you saw during your first home viewing or your final walkthrough. Some of the rooms may be set in stone, like the kitchen, a bathroom, or the master bedroom, but feel free to play around with others. A room that was shown as a bedroom can become your home office or a game room. Don’t settle for what’s there! Make the home your own.

  1. Rushing your décor

You’re going to be living in your home for a long time, so take your time deciding how to decorate it. It’s worth the wait to get the things you want instead of the things that are available right now. You don’t want to look back in a few months’ or years’ time and wonder how your home may have looked with that couch or backsplash that you wanted. Wait it out to get the right pieces for you.

  1. Not taking a risk

Renting comes with certain limitations, including not being able to change the flooring or paint your room a certain color. Owning a house means throwing all those restrictions. Take a chance and take on all those home improvement dreams you had in your apartment. Install new hardwood floors. Paint the walls. Let your creativity run wild.

  1. Ignoring the outside

The curb appeal of your home is just as important as the inside, so don’t forget about it when you start decorating. Think about what you can do to make the outside of your home just as functional as the inside. Decorate the outside with a garden or other shrubbery, a fire pit, or maybe even a pool! Depending on the time of year, you may also need to spend more time tending to your lawn.

  1. Ignoring the small problems

Problems have a way of creeping up on you, and without a super or handyman, you’re the one who has to fix them. Don’t leave little problems alone, as they can become big problems in the blink of an eye. Fix issues when they come up. Not only will it be less time-consuming, but it will also be less expensive.

Writing an Offer Letter

Real Estate Offer Letters

An offer letter is a legal document used by a buyer who wants to place a bid on a house that is for sale. You want the seller to feel positive about you after reading your letter. To make your offer letter the best it can be, follow these seven tips.

  1. Make a connection

You want to make the seller identify with you and your family, so search for something you and the seller have in common. This can be anything from you sharing the same line of work to noticing something similar in their house to yours. During the home viewing, pay close attention to the details so you can make the connection later.

  1. Short and sweet

No one is going to want to read pages and pages of story. Keep it short and sweet, focusing on two or three reasons why you are the best buyer for the home. Try and keep the letter down to a single page.

  1. Keep it positive

Keep the information you put into your letter positive. Don’t focus on the other homes you’ve lost out on. In the worst-case scenario, this can make the seller wonder why you have been having trouble buying a home and make them pass on you.

  1. Emotion

Don’t be afraid to show an emotional attachment to the home. In your offer letter, talk about how you can see your kids playing in the backyard or see your family cooking Sunday dinner together.

  1. Don’t talk about remodeling

Odds are the sellers still have an emotional attachment to at least some part of their home. Remodeling plans will ultimately change something that a seller might love dearly. Keep your plans to yourself.

  1. Wrap it up

Finish your offer letter with a short paragraph that reinforces what you talked about in your previous paragraphs. Show appreciation for the seller’s time and the opportunity to write a letter.

  1. Proofread

Always assume that your seller is a stickler for grammar. Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Additionally, look for things that a spell check might not detect, such as different variations of there, your, and its. After looking it over once, have a friend or family member to review it for you. A fresh eye might catch something that you might have looked over.

What is the Mortgage Process?

The Mortgage Process

Have you ever wondered about what steps your loan goes through before closing? Wonder no more! Here are the steps your loan goes through before you close.

  1. The loan coordinator

Once you finish the application, the loan coordinator takes care of getting everything in order. They make sure that the following items are in order:

  • Employment history
  • Credit
  • Minimum documentation
  • Residential history
  • Loan amounts
  • Attorney, title, and HOA

If everything is in order, the loan coordinator registers and locks the file and sends it to be disclosed. If not, the file will get sent back to the loan officer to get any necessary items.

  1. Disclosure

Once the application and minimum documentation are verified, the application moves to disclosure. During disclosure, they will compile estimate for all third-party fees, and make sure the title and attorney fees are as low as they can be. Once verified, the loan disclosure and “wet docs” are sent out. After everything is signed, they order the appraisal and title. They additionally send the file along to pre-underwriting. If the disclosure isn’t signed, it stays in the application status and won’t move forward.

  1. Pre-underwriting

After the loan disclosure is completed, the loan is moved to pre-underwriting. The pre-underwriter analyzes the documents received to make sure that the loan qualifies for conditional approval. They will also verify the inspection and make sure they have all additional addendums to any contract that may be in place. If there are any additional files needed, the pre-underwriter will reach out to get those files. The loan will be placed on hold if any critical documents are missing. Once everything is in order, the loan will be submitted to underwriting.

  1. Processing

Once all conditions are met, processing releases the early closing disclosure. The early disclosure may have changed due to survey, title, attorney fees, and prorations. If the early closing disclosure is signed, you can close three days later. If it is not signed, you can close seven days later. After everything is signed, the wire is ordered to be released the day of closing, which will be scheduled after signed documents are received.

  1. Closing day

It’s closing day! At closing day, a cashier’s check to cover final closing costs is needed. For a refinance, there is a three day right of rescission.

What is a Buyer’s Representation Agreement?

Buyer’s Representation Agreement

An agent typically works with a buyer for several weeks to a few months, sometimes longer. They do a variety of things, including:

  • Introducing the buyer to lenders and helping obtain preapproval letters
  • Finding listings that fit the buyer’s requirements
  • Call listing agents to determine availability
  • Making appointments with sellers to view the home
  • Driving the buyer to houses to tour
  • Researching comparable sales for buyers

Often, an agent might ask for a buyer’s representation agreement.

What is a buyer’s representation agreement?

A buyer’s representation agreement, also known as a buyers broker agreement, is an employment contract. Typically, they are bilateral contracts. It spells out the duties and responsibilities of the realtor to the prospective buyer and vice versa. If a buyer or agent doesn’t perform their duties, the other party may have the right to exit the working relationship.

Should you sign a buyer’s representation agreement?

Buyers may be apprehensive about the idea of signing an agreement. No one wants to be stuck with an agent they don’t work well with. Before signing an agreement, meet the agent first and get the know them. Additionally, there are a few other precautions you can take to ensure you are more comfortable.

  1. Ask for short term

Typically, an agent might request a 90-day commitment at a minimum. However, you are free to negotiate. You are free to ask for whatever term you want. 24-hour, seven-day, or 30-day term.

  1. Specify areas and terms

Most agreements will contain a description of the property you are looking for. If you are still unsure of what you want, you can just specify the terms and the area that you are looking for in the contract. This allows you to work with other agents in other areas and/or with different terms.

  1. Compromise

Before signing an agreement, tell your agent you would prefer to spend a day looking at properties together. Afterward, if you think you can work well together, you will sign the agreement before going out again.

  1. Ask for a guarantee

A guarantee allows agents or buyers to discontinue their relationship if it isn’t working out or if your personalities clash. This way, you aren’t stuck with someone who you don’t jive with.

What is a Down Payment?

Down Payment

A down payment is a type of payment made in cash at the beginning of the purchase of an expensive good or service, such as a home. The payment typically represents a percentage of the full purchase price. Most homebuyers pay 5 to 25% of the total value of the home. A bank or other financial institution will cover the rest of the costs through a mortgage loan.

How down payments affect interest

A down payment instantly reduces the amount of interest you will pay over the life of the loan. Having a sizeable down payment can save you thousands over the life of the loan. Down payments also provide lenders with a degree of security. Borrowers who use a down payment are less likely to default on their loan. Because of this, lenders may offer lower interest rates to borrowers who use a larger down payment.

How down payments affect monthly payments

Down payments also reduce monthly payments on your loan. A down payment is an initial starting payment for your loan. As such, after paying down, you will have less to pay over the course of the loan. The larger your down payment is, the less you’ll have to pay each month.

How down payments affect mortgage insurance

In most cases, a down payment of less than 20% will require you to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI is paid to a private insurance company in monthly payments. However, if you have a down payment over 20% or over, you can avoid having to pay these premiums.

Four Home Maintenance Tasks That May Have Been Forgotten

Home Maintenance Tasks

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the chores you must do as a homeowner. As a result, some tasks may be forgotten. However, these tasks still need to be taken care of. Here are four home maintenance tasks that you may not think to complete to get you started.

  1. Refrigerator drip pan

To clean the refrigerator drip pan, you first have to find it. First, take off the kick panel at the bottom of the fridge. Then, trace the defrost drain line to the pan. The pan is where the line empties out. Gently pull out the pan out, being careful not to spill any of the water in the pan. Dump out the water in the sink and clean with any all-purpose cleaner before replacing the pan. Failing to clean the drip pan can result in mold growth, and no one wants that!

  1. Refrigerator coils

Refrigerators use a coil system to cool and condense the refrigerant. Unfortunately, these coils attract dust and dirt. On some models, these coils are located at the bottom of the fridge. On others, they are located on the back of the fridge. As they get dirtier, the coils can’t efficiently release heat, making them work harder and longer than necessary. This results in more energy being used (and a higher energy bill) and a shorter lifespan for your fridge. To clean the coils, use a coil-cleaning brush and a vacuum. The cleaning brush can be found online or at your local hardware store.

  1. Dryer lint screen

While it’s common knowledge to rid the screen of lint after doing a couple loads of laundry, you may not know that you should clean the entire screen! The residue from dryer sheets and fabric softener can build up on the screen and block the airflow. This can lead to inefficient drying and even dryer fires. To clean the lint screen, soak the screen in a mixture of hot water and a dishwashing soap that is designed to remove grease and oil. After soaking, gently scrub the screen with a soft brush, rinse it, and let it air dry before reinserting it.

  1. Test for water leaks

Testing for water leaks can help you save water and money on your water bill. Most importantly, it can protect you from water damage. To check for water leaks, take a water meter reading and avoid using water for the next two hours. After two hours, check the meter again. If the reading changes, you have a leak. If you do have a leak, check the pipes of any appliances that use water for cracked, bulging, or damaged hoses. Leaky hoses are easy to repair by yourself. A plumber should repair the more extensive damage.


The Essential Homeowner Toolbox

Tools Every Homeowner Should Have

Every home should have a full toolbox, whether you are a new or seasoned homeowner. Here are what tools every house should have.

  1. Toolbox

A toolbox is important for keeping your things organized. Large-capacity plastic toolboxes with a metal latch are best as they close securely. A removable tray works well to hold fasteners.

  1. Drill and drill bits

Multipurpose, battery-powered drills and drivers can be used for a multitude of tasks. In addition to the drill, you should purchase a pack of drill bits, with a selection of slotted, square-drive, and Phillips-head drive bits in a variety of sizes.

  1. Hammer

You should only need two hammers to begin with, one heavyweight and one lightweight. The size of the hammer you use should correspond with the size of the nail. This means that the bigger the nail, the heavier the hammer should be.

  1. Hacksaw

A cutting tool is a necessity in any home toolbox. An all-purpose hacksaw can be used for cutting plastic and metal pipes, conduit, tubing, brackets, bolts, wood, and threaded rods.

  1. Adjustable wrench

An adjustable wrench can be adjusted to fit nuts and bolts of different sizes. One or two adjustable wrenches should be perfect for your new toolbox.

  1. Nails and screws

Keep a good selection of general-purpose nails and screws so you’ll always have options for any projects you need to do.

  1. Tape measure

A retractable, lockable measure has many uses. Be sure to get one that is at least 25’.

  1. Utility knife

Utility knives can be used for breaking down boxes, removing old caulk, making precision cuts, and a multitude of other tasks.

  1. Screwdrivers

In addition to a battery-powered drill, you should also purchase a set of manual screwdrivers. These work well for simpler jobs, such as changing a switch place. Consider purchasing a variety pack with multiple types of screwdrivers or one screwdriver with interchangeable heads.

  1. Pliers

Buy a set of pliers with a variety of types and sizes. Channel-lock pliers are good for work on larger pipes and valves. Needle-nose pliers are great for getting in tight spaces. Electrician’s pliers are great to strip and cut wires. Locking pliers are a great multipurpose gripping tool.

  1. Duct tape

Duct tape is great for quick fixes around the house when you can’t fix something immediately. It has a thick, woven back that adheres to almost anything.

  1. Safety gear

For any project, you should take necessary safety precautions. Make sure to have plastic and leather-type gloves, protective goggles, ear protection, and dust masks.