Read on about:
Title of Your New House
New House? Weighing Your Options
You Can Repair Your Credit & Get Out Of Debt Faster - Before
Buying Your New House!
Get tips about
landscaping and getting a beautiful yard (later)
Title of Your New House
you take title in your new home is key decision. Unfortunately,
in the euphoria of the moment, many new homeowners don’t put
much thought into it.
purchasing a new home, you become the title owner of record. Essentially,
this means you are listed in public records as the legal owner.
This may sound like a simple concept, but how you’re classified
as an owner can impact legal and tax issues. Here are some issues
to consider when taking title.
you are purchasing the property on your own, there is really only
one title choice. Yep, you are going to be listed as the sole owner,
to wit, in your own name. If you are investing in rental or commercial
properties, you should speak with a lawyer about purchasing the
properties through a limited liability company to limit potential
or More Owners
you’re married, many states require you to take title in a
property as community property. In such states, you and a spouse
are automatically considered to be joint owners regardless of any
other factors. Community property title can have tremendous but
macabre tax benefits. If one spouse dies, the living spouse gets
a “step up” basis for tax consequence and huge capital
gains taxes. For instance, if you purchased a home for $200,000
and it is worth $400,000 when a spouse dies, the remaining spouse
gets to figure any capital gains using $400,000 as the cost of the
house instead of $200,000.
some states, spouses are not required to take community property
title. Instead, they and any collection of two or more owners may
take title in joint tenancy. The advantages of joint tenancy are
twofold. First, you get the step up basis mentioned above. Second,
title in the property automatically transfers to surviving owners
upon the death of one owner. This means you get to avoid probate,
an expensive and lengthy court process.
buying a home, don’t just pick title willy- nilly. Take the
time to explore the options in your state and pick the best one
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House? New House? Weighing Your Options
it has something to do with a childhood home we fondly remember.
Many of us long for old homes built with solid construction, quality
craftsmanship and beautiful details. We wax poetic and wistfully
recall the hand carvings, plaster walls and eyebrow dormers of homes
we’ve known. On the other hand, how do the old homes we admire
compare with newly minted models—and what should we consider
before deciding which to buy?
Typically, old homes sit on generous plots of land in or near town.
The neighborhoods are established and usually more central to schools
and shopping. Mature trees and plantings provide shade and beautify
the property and neighborhood streets. New homes are generally found
in new developments outside of town and homeowners who buy into
an early can expect to contend with dust and construction sights
and sounds as the remaining phases are being built. Landscaping
may be skimpy or nonexistent, but a buyer has the opportunity to
design the décor from scratch.
New homes tend to have a more spacious functional layout with higher
ceilings, bigger windows, family kitchens, walk-in closets, and
family rooms. Some even have media rooms and come pre-wired for
cable and computers. On the other hand, older homes were designed
for a more formal lifestyle, which is reflected in the formal dining
and living areas and many cozy rooms, including small bedrooms,
closets and bathrooms.
Those eight-over-eight single pane wood windows add character to
an old home, but even with storm windows, they’re not nearly
as energy efficient as modern dual-glazed or thermal windows. While
most old homes lacked insulation in outside walls and attics, homes
built today insulate against high heating and cooling costs. Although
the bigger windows, higher ceilings and larger rooms, common in
new homes, can also cause high utility bills.
With older homes, upkeep could be more expensive because of older
appliances, plumbing and electrical systems—not to mention
the roof—may need to be replaced. A turn of the century home
may have outdated knob-and-tube wiring, and even a recently built
home may have an inadequate fuse box-style panel that falls short
of the energy demands of 21st century families. But new homes generally
come with warranties that will cover the cost for most major problems.
Older homes are usually less expensive per square foot. In addition
the tax structure is more predictable because the neighborhood is
already established with amenities that newer neighborhoods are
still in the process of gaining, such as schools, police and fire
services, and infrastructures (roads, sidewalks, etc.). However,
with restoration costs a possibility for older homes, your dollars
may very well be spent on the back-end rather than upfront.
the charm and beauty of an old home wins your heart, hire an inspector
to evaluate the home for lead paint, insect and water damage, lead
and/or galvanized pipes, outdated wiring, foundation problems and
energy efficiency, including windows as well as heating/cooling
systems and insulation. After you get the all-clear, you have one
last consideration: Does the home fit your lifestyle or would the
conveniences of a newer model suit you better? Only you and your
family have the answer.
Dabestani-Ryba is a licensed Realtor in Maryland. She is a member
of the President's Circle of Top Real Estate Professionals. She
can be reached at (800) 536-3806 or visit her website for more information:
Prudential Carruthers REALTORS is an independently owned and operated
member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential
Financial company. Equal Housing Opportunity
How You Can Repair Your Credit & Get Out Of Debt Faster - Before
Buying Your New House!
people think – mistakenly – that if you have credit
problems, you have to wait 7 years for them to go away. Well, that's
not always true.
repair can help you...once you know how to do it. The time
to clean up your credit and pay off your debts is RIGHT NOW, before
you start looking for houses and applying for mortgages. Cleaning
up your credit and lowering your debt will help you:
a better interest rate
borrow more money
and save lots of money in interest
up your credit report
days, getting credit is easy. Unfortunately, so is getting into
debt or financial trouble. But just because you’ve had some
money problems does NOT mean you can’t get a mortgage and
buy a house. There are all kinds of loans:
loans for first time homebuyers
loans for people with bad credit
loans for people with perfect credit
and loans for people without a lot of money for a down payment
most people can get a loan these days. The question is, HOW MUCH
will you pay in the long run for higher fees and interest rates?
of people think that if something bad goes on your credit report,
that it must stay there for 7 years, or longer. But that’s
not always true. Credit repair can work, if you know how to do it.
you can do it yourself.
example, I had lots of debt (from a business idea that did not work)
and got a lot of bad credit listings while getting myself out of
within 6 months of paying off my last credit card bill (remember,
even if you have some debt you might still be able to get a house
loan) I repaired my credit to the point that I got both
a car loan and a mortgage. More importantly, I got the LOWEST POSSIBLE
interest rates, which over the life of a 30-year loan could save
me tens of thousands of dollars!
did I repair my credit?
a copy of all my credit reports, and kept writing letters asking
the credit bureaus to remove the bad credit.
it CAN be done. (And I had some pretty bad stuff on my credit reports.)
The worst that can happen is that the credit bureaus can say “no”
to your request. The best that can happen is that your credit score
will improve, and you’ll pay a lower interest rate, get a
bigger mortgage, or both!
how do you clean up your credit report?
first step is to get a copy of your credit report from the 3 credit
bureaus, listed below. You might have to pay a few dollars, but
it is well worth it. If you moved, changed jobs, and had any other
personal info change recently, you can send it to the credit bureaus,
and request a free copy.
You are now entitled to one free credit report each year from http://www.annualcreditreport.com.
next step is to circle or highlight the bad credit items, and write
a letter to each credit bureau asking them to remove the item. If
you have a lot, focus on one or two at a time. Then, wait a month
or two, and ask for another one or two items to be removed.
might take a few tries.
if you keep trying, eventually most (or all) of the items will be
the worst case - even if you only get a few removed - it might still
improve your credit score, reduce your interest rate, and lower
your monthtly payment!
don’t give up.
might take a little time to repair your credit - especially if you’ve
had quite a few money problems. But every little bit helps your
credit score, your interest rate, and the amount of money you can
pay off as much debt as possible.
when preparing to buy your new home money is real tight. But if
you have any extra money – any at all – try to pay off
as much debt as possible. This will help you:
Be more likely to be approved for a mortgage
Be able to borrow more money
Have one (or more) less bill to worry about once you start having
to pay a mortgage every month.
you can’t pay off your debt, you might want to consider waiting
before buying your new home. Or, look into a debt reduction program
that can help you get out of debt faster. There are no rules that
say you can’t have some debt and still buy a house!
think very carefully about your financial situation. And TRY to
pay off as much debt as possible before buying a house.
is enough to worry about as a new homeowner, without having to worry
about paying your credit card bills.
the very least, if you do have any debt, MAKE SURE you can comfortably
afford to pay your credit card bills as well as your mortgage, before
Bickell is the owner of HouseBuying-Tips.com,
a site that helps first time home buyers avoid the costly mistakes
that many new homebuyers make. For more tips on buying a house,
getting a mortgage, finding a realtor, and getting out of debt,
sign up for the free “How To Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes
When Buying Your First Home” email course at: http://www.HouseBuying-Tips.com/course.html
© 2005 HouseBuying-Tips.com
Energy Savings: New House Design and Energy Conservation
in North America are getting ready for the 2005 / 2006 winter season
as we write this report and most are bracing themselves for larger
energy bills during the coming winter heating season than past years.
Recent spikes in energy costs for all types of energy including
gasoline, heating oil, electricity and natural gas are causing many
consumers to begin thinking about how they heat their homes and
whether they can save money. In our discussion we will use the term
“energy” to refer to all of the previous forms of fuel
that is used in our homes.
conservation begins with the design and construction of a new home
and carries through to your daily living habits. Consumers who have
the most success in terms of reducing their energy bills have made
energy conservation a way of life, while enjoying their new homes
homeowners have the potential to reduce their heating bills by as
much as 50% or more. They can achieve these savings with a logical,
well planned approach beginning with the design of the home, proper
construction techniques, well insulated windows, doors, and walls
and then follow through with daily, monthly and annual operational
who have designed and insulated their home with energy conservation
in mind will be able to maximize their savings if they make energy
conservation part of their every day life. The common objectives
of living in a comfortable home and managing your energy consumption
can easily be met by following a few simple rules.
Approach to Energy Savings
homes are really a complex environment that must be managed to ensure
that we live comfortably, have sufficient fresh air, while controlling
our energy consumption at the same time. Essentially, a well planned
home will take into account the amount of energy intake from energy
sources such as our heating system as well as solar heating vs.
energy loss from the effects of cold weather, heat loss through
windows, doors, walls and floors as well as heat reduction when
we use air conditioning systems in hot climates.
the winter we are concerned about the cost of heating our homes
and the loss of heat to the outside through leakage of cold air
into our homes. The summer brings the reverse when we must cool
our homes and manage the cooling during hot summer days. In both
cases solar heat plays a part in the equation as well as how well
sealed our homes are. Consumers living in colder climates will be
more concerned about winter heating costs while consumers living
in southern areas of the continent will worry about the cost of
a systems approach to managing your energy costs
is one way to ensure that you maximize your savings and make a positive
contribution to the environment through reduced energy usage. Energy
conservation and home design begins with the orientation of your
home to maximize the heating of your home by natural solar heating
in colder climates and avoiding solar heating in hot climates. Next,
consumers can take advantage of natural shade or by adding trees
to provide shade during hot summer days and also act as wind breaks
to reduce the impact of the cooling effects that the wind can have
on the amount of energy they use.
you have considered these elements, consumers should use the latest
techniques in designing their homes with high insulation values
in the walls, energy efficient heating and cooling systems as well
as energy efficient appliances. For example your air conditioning
unit should be energy efficient and placed were it will be in the
shade as much as possible to maximize its efficiency. Selection
of fluorescent lighting, taking advantage of natural lighting are
additional elements to be considered in the design of your new home.
Visit our home energy checklist for more details on steps you can
take to reduce your energy costs at the design stage of your home.
may also want to invest in an energy audit of their homes design
before agreeing to the final design. A relatively low cost audit
can sometimes save thousands of dollars in energy costs over the
life of their home.
Home Energy Checklist
have assembled a home energy checklist with both the new home buyer
/ builder in mind as well as items to check after you have moved
in. Our objective is to assist you in saving energy, which means
money in your pocket during the design as well as after you have
moved into your new home. Saving energy can be divided into four
areas: Home Design; Appliance & Lighting Selection, Energy Conservation
– A Way of Life. This total systems and life style approach
is really geared to maximizing your energy savings.
might have the most efficient energy saving home built, however
if you move in and leave all of the lights on all the time, leave
the windows open when you are heating the house or cooling, your
energy saving initiatives will not be as affective as you might
this in mind our energy savings checklist applies
to the design phase as well as after you have moved into your new
home. Even consumers who have been in their homes for a few years
will find this checklist useful for managing their energy consumption.
New Homes and Energy Conservation
home designers and architects are up to date on energy conservation
techniques, however they are also geared to meeting their
customers needs and priorities for their home designs. Many consumers
will consider home energy management almost as an after thought
when it is too late to incorporate energy savings concepts into
their new home design. As you and your home designer or architect
discuss your plans and your objectives for your new home, always
emphasize that energy management and home comfort are a very important
element of the final design that your are looking for.
a new home actually begins with site selection and orientation of
your home on the property. Depending on the climate consumers will
want to orient their homes on the property to manage the amount
of solar heating that the house will be exposed to. A common theme
throughout this report is to orient your home so that the sun can
heat the home naturally in the winter, while minimizing the effects
of solar heating during hot summer days. Adding trees or shrubs
to provide shade and taking advantage of natural land formations
to provide shelter from prevailing winds is the first step in managing
your energy costs.
of the foundation for homes varies a great deal across
the continent. In some locales a below grade basement is mandatory,
while in other locations a concrete slab is standard. In both situations,
insulation is a key component to maintain comfortable living conditions
while reducing your energy costs. Insulation can be added below
the slab of concrete and all basement walls should be properly sealed
and insulated to at least R20 levels. All exposed hot water pipes
can be insulated as well in addition.
should be insulated to at least R20, while attics should have insulation
to a level of R40. Floors over crawl spaces will be warmer and you
will lose less energy if the floors are also insulated. Many customers
will select wall to wall carpeting for additional insulation and
warmth, however if you prefer ceramic, marble or hardwood floors,
area rugs can be used as decoration as well as providing a warm
surface to walk on. Ceiling fans are another inexpensive way to
distribute naturally heated air.
can select windows and doors that are energy rated with triple pane
windows and insulated steel doors. Adding a storm door to the outside
increases the level of insulating and energy savings that you can
achieve. During the winter consumers will enjoy the warmth of the
suns ray’s through the windows, while summer months the windows
can be covered to reduce the heating affects of the sun. Selection
of window coverings, while meeting aesthetic requirements can also
support energy saving concepts as well.
selection of lighting fixtures with fluorescent lighting and also
taking into account natural lighting can reduce your lighting costs
significantly. Incorporate timers, motion detectors, photo cells
at appropriate locations in your home to assist in managing your
lighting needs as well as energy usage.
design as well as all areas were water is used should incorporate
flow restrictors to minimize the use of cold and hot water.
loves to have a fireplace in their home. A fireplace
can generate a huge loss of energy if not managed properly and designed
with energy conservation in mind. Natural wood burning fireplaces
have the lowest efficiency, while sealed gas fireplaces can be very
efficient, while still providing the ambiance that many consumers
are looking for.
selection and use of your appliances can have a significant impact
on your energy costs. Old appliances may be energy guzzlers, while
new appliances should be chosen based on their energy ratings. Selecting
a high efficiency furnace, air conditioner and water heater is a
first step. Consider purchasing new appliances instead of moving
your appliances from your last home. Electronic ignition of gas
appliances, taking advantage of shade for your air conditioner and
using a digital thermostat that allows timed control of your homes
interior temperature are all elements of the energy design of your
final comment about new home design is in order. Consumers may also
want to arrange for an energy audit of their home before they agree
to the final design. Suggestions by an expert quite often will pay
for the cost of the audit in terms of energy savings.
Conservation – A Way of Life
who go to the time and expense of designing and building an energy
efficient home may be disappointed with the savings that they obtain
if they do not practice energy conservation in their daily lives.
For example, you may have paid for a well insulated home, sealed
all the cracks, used caulking were you were supposed to and installed
the best windows and doors. If you then leave windows open, forget
to turn down the thermostat on cold winter days when you are not
at home or turn up the thermostat on hot days, you may not achieve
the savings that you were expecting. Leaving lights on, running
appliances with partial loads e.g. the dishwasher etc can also increase
your energy consumption beyond what you may have been expecting.
home energy checklist covers many items that home
owners can consider as a means of taking advantage of all of the
energy efficient attributes of their home to reduce their energy
consumption even further. Making this approach part of your lifestyle
will ensure that your energy savings continue after you have moved
in to your new home and lived there for sometime.
people are also concerned about the impact of conserving energy
on their comfort and may be afraid to implement some energy saving
concepts. We would like to politely point out that replacing an
incandescent light with a fluorescent light will not only save you
energy, but provide you with a more comfortable light in your home
as well. Filling up the dishwasher or the clothes washer before
running them takes no additional effort on your part and saves you
energy usage at the same time. There are many examples such as these
that will reduce your energy consumption and not impact your comfort.
In fact plugging leaks and designing ceiling fans into the home
can positively improve the aesthetics as well as reduce drafts.
our home energy checklist and apply those items that impact your
situation. You will be amazed at how much you can save by following
a few simple steps!
N Home Building (http://www.house-n-home-building.com) is an
indespensible resources for anyone building a new home. The site
features, money saving, convenience, healthy house building and
energy saving tips. It is packed with useful and practical tools
such as a lot/land checklist, builder's interview guide and checklist,
comprehensive punchlist, a sample building contract, example specifications,
home energy checklist, a free house plan and a free monthly house