Q: I really want to buy a home in the Northeast but the absolute most I can afford is $100,000. I really don’t want a fixer-upper or anything that “needs TLC.” What can I get for that price and where should I be looking?
A: In the Multiple Listing Service Trend, there are 268 homes listed for sale today in Northeast Philadelphia for $100,000 and under. Out of those homes, there are 116 active listings that are noted as “Average +” continue reading »
My fiancé and I are looking to buy a house, but we have very little money to put down. Her parents have agreed to help us out with a down payment, but I am not sure how much we will need. We are looking in the Northeast under $200,000. How much do you think I will need?
A: The first thing you should do is talk to a mortgage lender and get pre-approved. The amount of money you will need may vary by lender and depends on a number of factors, like which loan you can qualify for, and even your settlement date. If you are unsure of how much you will need, ask your mortgage lender. continue reading »
Columnist Stacey McCarthy has the week off. Today, we’re running her post from this time last year.
Q: I am so excited! I make settlement on my first home in Holme Circle on Friday and I don’t know how to get the bills in my name. I want to make sure I have all my bases covered, so I want to call the utility companies asap. Who do I need to call? And will the seller’s bills already be paid off?
A: Congratulations! Owning your first home is very exciting. One thing you shouldn’t have to worry about is the seller’s utility pay-offs. The title company you use to make settlement will make sure the seller’s utility bills are paid up. continue reading »
What does the market look like so far this year in my neighborhood? I live in 19111, Fox Chase. I am thinking of downsizing from my fair-sized single to a twin in the same neighborhood so I can still live here, but eliminate my mortgage payment. I want to buy a cheap twin and sell my single for the most money possible. Can you give me the low-down?
Fox Chase is a neighborhood with a variety of housing options. There are singles, twins, duplexes, and apartments. I can report there are 47 houses currently for sale in Fox Chase – all singles and twins – ranging from $75,000 to $300,000, with the average sale price of $199,895. continue reading »
Q: I am making settlement on my new house in Morrell Park at the end of the month. What do I have to do to change my driver’s license address and get all my utilities turned on?
A: Congratulations on your new home! Being prepared is important, but so is timing. Settlement dates and circumstances can change; there will be some things you will want to do after you make settlement and some you will want to do the day of settlement. continue reading »
Q: I found a house I want to buy in Morrell Park, but the listing says it is a “bank-owned property.” It’s not a great house, but it’s pretty cheap. I am pre-approved from my bank for the exact amount they are asking. Is there a special way to make an offer on this house? What do I need to do to buy it?
A: Your first step is to contact either the real estate agency that listed the property or a real estate agent you know and trust to show you the property and help you make the offer. It is always an important decision whether to contact the listing agent of any property or pick a buyer’s agent of your own. continue reading »
Q: My house is in Rhawnhurst and I am ready to move. It is a nice house, but my friends have told me it is “dated.” I don’t really have a lot of money to move and my friends keep scaring me with stories about how they had to get a new roof, or new rugs, or new electric for their buyers. I’m on a fixed income and can’t afford that. How can I sell without going into my pocket for a buyer?
A: If you want to sell your home without doing any repairs, you can sell it “as-is.” It’s a great option for many home sellers who are unable to handle the repairs, either financially or physically. When a house is up for sale “as-is,” it is understood that the buyer will be making an offer contingent on being responsible for any repairs needed themselves. continue reading »
Q: This time last year I was looking for houses and my real estate agent told me I had to get my credit up higher before I bought a house, so I thought if I waited a year my credit would get better. But, apparently, my credit is still not good enough to buy this year either. Is there something I should be doing to improve my credit?
A: Credit scoring is a tricky business. There are many elements of your credit history that the credit bureaus factor in to make up your credit score. And there are several different credit scores you are being “graded” on when it comes to getting a mortgage. continue reading »
Realtor Stacey McCarthy will return next week with a new column. This column originally ran in November 2011.
Q: How much of a window should I give myself before I start to look for a new home after my house is on the market? It’s been up a couple months and I don’t know when to start looking. I’m thinking now might be a good time.
A: If you had just put your home on the market, I would usually suggest you wait until your home is under contract since a home you fall in love with might not be available by the time yours is sold. But if your home has been up for sale for several months, you might want to start looking, and in your neighborhood as well, for reasons other than just finding a new home. continue reading »
Q: I heard about someone who bought a big house in Holmesburg and found out the previous owner had died in the house. No one had told them this before they bought it and they say their house is haunted. Don’t they have to tell you about stuff like that before you buy it? I thought they did.
A: The Real Estate Seller’s Disclosure law requires sellers of residential property (and their agents) to disclose all know “material defects” of the property that are not “readily observable.” Material defects are problems with the property that would significantly affect the value, or involves reasonable risk. continue reading »