Homebuyer's Blog

Until the late-1950s, plaster walls were the norm in new home construction. These walls are sometimes called “horse-hair plaster” because it was common to mix horse hair into the wet plaster to add strength, and to prevent cracking with minor flexing. Heating and cooling a house will cause plaster to expand and shrink slightly, so the hair helped keep the walls a bit more flexible.

For lenders, the standard “rule of thumb” is that an individual’s monthly housing payment (your mortgage, plus taxes, insurance, etc.) should be no more than 28 percent of your monthly income, before taxes. In cases like FHA loans, the debt-to-income ratio may be higher.

But how much should YOU borrow?

So, you just LOVE the 1960s, huh? Are you looking for a house that’s got all that ‘60s charm? Like any other era, specific styles will vary, depending on the location. There are, however, a few features that were commonly found in homes of this era. Here’s what to expect:

“Popcorn” ceilings are acoustic ceiling textures that were popular in the 1960s, 1970s and into the 1980s. They were used to dampen noise and were applied through painting, or spraying, the texture onto a ceiling’s surface.

Selecting a home is a very personal decision. It should be based on your needs and preferences, and those of the people who will be living with you.

If you are “moving on up” to a new house, and preparing to sell your first home, there are a few things to keep in mind that will make the process easier, less stressful and more profitable! Learn how to avoid these common mistakes that first-time sellers often make.

Ready to buy your first home? Congratulations!

What considerations should you take into account when budgeting for a house? Your preferred location and the amount you are willing to spend are two of the biggest factors. Right? But these two considerations may be much more intertwined, and fiscally significant, than you realize.

The REAL cost of a home entails much more than the sales price. For example, if you are employed and travel to work every day, your commuting costs can quickly add up. To prevent a serious, long-term financial mistake, take time to calculate this cost.

You’ve moved into your new home and it’s time to make it your own. Resale value probably isn’t top-of-mind at this point, but it should be! In a departure from our collection of articles providing serious home buying advice, we hope you enjoy this tongue-in-cheek look at homeowner mistakes…some of the easiest ways to HURT the future value of your home.

 When buying a home, don’t assume the details of the listing and the seller’s disclosure form will reveal every problem. Asking the right questions will not only help you get answers to those questions, it may also provide answers to questions you didn’t ask.

An FHA mortgage is a loan secured by the Federal Housing Authority—a branch of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

When you prepare to buy your first home, you may feel pelted with words that seem foreign or are being used in a different context. To understand the “lingo,” here are many of the most common real estate terms:

On average, only 10 to 12 percent of homeowners sell their home without using a listing agent. As a buyer, there are a number of reasons for looking into for sale by owner (FSBO) homes, potentially including a lower price and the ability to speak directly with the seller about the home and the neighborhood.

Many homebuyers are also sellers who need to place their current property up for sale in order to move into a different home. If you fall into that category, here are ten jobs to tackle before listing your home for sale.

Traditionally, spring is considered peak season in the real estate market. Families with school-aged children find it less disruptive to move over the summer. Spring is also a time when people are eager to get outside and properties usually look their best. On the flip side, however, there are a number of good reasons for homebuyers to hold off until fall:

Ideally, a person’s home shouldn’t include obstacles for daily living. Universal design, a term coined by architect Ronald Mace, revolves around designing “built environments” to be both aesthetically pleasing and to “be able to be used by everyone, regardless of age, ability or status in life” to the greatest extent possible.

As you are driving down the road, you see the cutest little house in your dream neighborhood. You are delighted to see a “For Sale” sign out front, emblazoned with a real estate agent’s name and a number encouraging you to “Schedule your viewing today!”

What do you do?

Many older homes are long on architectural details, but short on closet space. At the time historical homes were built, most individuals didn’t own more than a few articles of clothing, greatly reducing the need for closet storage.

“C.L.U.E.” stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, which is a compilation of claims made against a property, collected in a national insurance company database. This report can tell a potential buyer how many insurance claims a property has had over the last five years, when those claims were made, what type of loss was claimed, how much was paid to settle the claim or if the claim was denied—information that can be extremely helpful in discovering hidden problems, prior to purchase.

Most first-time buyers are worried about making a mistake when taking on a huge financial and life-changing decision like buying a house. If that describes you, you’re in good company. After all, it’s normal to worry about major decisions like changing careers, moving to a new city, getting married, having a baby and, yes, buying a home.

Granite countertops are beautiful. These natural stone surfaces come in a wide range of colors and patterns, are extremely durable, and add a luxury “feel” to your home, while also improving resale value. If you’re considering buying a home with granite countertops—or adding them to your home—what considerations should you keep in mind?