Friday, May 28, 2010

Title Insurance Explained

During the process of purchasing a home, you will most likely deal with title insurance. Many homebuyers are confused at to exactly is title insurance is and whether or not they really need it?

When you buy a home you are given a title. The title is the owner's right to possess and use the property. It is important to know that it may not the home seller who owns the title. A bank with a mortgage on the property might own an interest in the property, as does someone who has done work on the house and filed a lien against it or even a homeowners association if the dues have not been paid. The government may also have liens against the property for unpaid taxes.

Homeowners will need to ensure that there are no problems with the home's title as well as confirm that the seller really owns the property. Problems with the title can limit your use and enjoyment of the property, as well as bring financial loss. A title search and title insurance will protect the homeowner from these problems.

A title search will reveal if someone other than the owner of the property owns the title. This search can be done by examining public records to look up the history of property ownership. While you can easily do your own title search, if you are obtaining a loan to purchase the property, the lender will require that a qualified third party do the title search. The title search shows not only limitations on the use of the property and rights others may have in the property, but also liens or monetary obligations that are outstanding against the property.

Title insurance is different than homeowners insurance where you are covered in case of a future event. For example, if you get car insurance you are insured in case you have an accident, you buy health insurance in case you get sick. Title insurance is different as it covers events relating to the title that have already happened. It does not cover anything that happens to the title after the date of issuance. For example if you have liens filed against the property for taxes that you have not paid, your title insurance policy is not going to help you. But, if the lien is for taxes not paid by someone who owned the house before you, then you may have coverage under your title policy.

A title company will do a title search on the property before issuing the policy to see if there are any problems with the title. This search is done in an effort to minimize the risks of offering insurance. Problems such as deeds, wills, outstanding mortgages, judgements, and tax liens can be located from the search and can typically be cleared up before the closing on the property. When these problems are not cleared they will often be listed as exceptions to the policy's coverage. You would then need to decide whether the property is still something you want to purchase given the known problems with the title.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Is A Fixed Rate Mortgage Right For You?

If you are planning on purchasing a new home and will be obtaining mortgage financing, you will have many different mortgage loan programs to choose from. It can be confusing to decide which will be best for your situation with all the different choices on the market today. However, the vast majority of them are fixed rate mortgages with a 15 year or 30 year term. These traditional mortgages are amortizing, which means that you pay off the entire loan amount by the end of the term of the loan. While these are still the most common type of loan, there are advantages and drawbacks to these mortgages. Depending on your financial situation, and the prospects of changes in your financial future, a fixed rate mortgage may or may not be the best product for you.

Below are some of the pro's and con's of fixed rate mortgages:


Interest rate on your mortgage cannot be increased for the life of your loan

Monthly payment will remain the same for the life of the loan

Loan will be completely paid off by the end of the term

Fixed Rate mortgages are very common and standard and finding a lender who offers this loan will be easy.


Fixed monthly payment amount may be difficult to make at the start of the loan

Large percentage of payment goes to interest payment in first years of the loan

Usually has a higher interest rate than a variable rate loan initiated at the same time

Interest rate cannot be reduced as in some variable rate programs

Maybe harder to qualify for, as higher income may be required

Depending on your financial situation, a fixed rate mortgage may be the best solution for you. If you can afford the monthly payment required to obtain the loan, then the fact that your interest rate and monthly payments will stay the same for the life of the loan while give you peace of mind and make monthly budgeting easier.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Improving Indoor Air Quality

Breathing fresh clean air is vital for health and avoiding polluntants makes sense. However, it has been shown in some studies of air quality in the home, that the air we breathe in our homes is often more polluted than the air breather outside. This is of course an alarming realization especially if you have children or family members who have asthma or a fragile immune system. The good news is that are a number of things that can be done to improve air quality in our homes.

•Ventilate your home regularly
Vacuum weekly
•Use a good quality air filter on your furnace and replace it regularly
•Maintain ventilation systems (If your home has one) and dehumidifiers
•Run exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens
•If you're considering an air purifier, avoid devices that generate ozone, as these can make lung problems and asthma worse.

In addition to these tips, you should also pay close to attention to the indoor chemicals that you may be using. The two more commonly identified chemicals in our homes include formaldehyde which is present in home renovation products and solvents from fresh paint and phthalates which are used in soft plastics and synthetic fragrances such as air fresheners and dryer sheets. Even common cleaning items used such as bleach and ammonia result in poor air quality. There are many alternatives on the market today that offer bio-degradable and safe to use cleaning products for the home

Friday, May 07, 2010

Tips For Making A Small Room Look Larger

The current real estate market can make selling your home can be challenging. It may make it more difficult if you have some rooms that may be on the small side.

Small rooms can feel confining and uncomfortable, but you don't need to do a total remodel to make your rooms feel larger. By utilizing certain design concepts that fool the eye and the rooms seem much bigger and spacious. Below are some simple tips you can take to help make these rooms appear more spacious and inviting to prospective buyers.

1.Painting the room with light colors such as pastels, neutrals and white are a better alternative to “bright” or dark colors.

2. Avoid all clutter. Even on the walls it is best to use one larger painting rather than several small decorative paintings or pictures.

3. Any room will look larger if it's well-lit, either by natural light or artificial lighting. Get rid of heavy draperies and open up the windows to let the light of the outdoors into the space.

4. Mirrors are a must as they add dimension to the room by reflecting images, light and colors. Mirrors provide a “see through” feel to the room.

5. Be mindful of the furniture you select for the room. Large and bulky pieces of furniture should be removed. Using just a few smaller pieces in the middle of the room will improve the appearnce of space.

6. If possible choose glass tables, they open up the room and help to establish a larger room feel.
Use vertical space for storage. Add a hutch or floor-to-ceiling bookcases as a storage solution to reduce the amount of floor space taken.