Catherine Reagor Arizona Republic Published 8:00 AM EST Dec 3, 2018 A day after Katie Lebowitz and David Dronning closed on their newly renovated north Phoenix house last summer, they found water all over their kitchen floor. A plumber scoped the sewer and told the couple it had collapsed, and the house would flood if they ran water. It was just the beginning of the problems. The former foreclosure house that government-backed Fannie Mae had fixed up and sold to the couple also had hidden mold, asbestos and electrical problems that cost more than $100,000 to fix. "It took five painful months of living out of storage units and spending all of our money to fix the house," Dronning said. "It's been a nightmare." A record number of Valley homes have been renovated and flipped during the past few years. But the rush to fix up bargain homes and sell them for a profit has led to big headaches and costs for some buyers. Check for mold, asbestos, filled-in pools Swimming pools … [Read more...] about Beware of bad flips when buying a house in metro Phoenix
Buildings insurance when buying a house
Q: Our daughter just started college and we are seriously considering buying a house near the campus. Our plan: Assuming she stays in college for at least four years, when she finishes her first year, she can move into the house, and we can rent rooms to other college kids. We believe our daughter is capable of managing the property.Our problem: Her college is in a different state, and while we have experience buying property where we live, we want to make sure we are doing the right thing. Any suggestions? A: Without knowing all the facts, it sounds like a good plan; it will save you money on college expenses and hopefully make you some money at the same time.You should immediately retain a local attorney. If you don’t have any names, you can contact the local bar association in the county or state where the college is located, and they will provide you with some names.Once you have a lawyer on your side, she or he should assist you in getting a local real estate agent that will … [Read more...] about Is it smart for parents to buy a house for their college kid, then rent out the rooms?
With the home prices down 35 percent since their 2006 peak and mortgage interest rates at record lows, purchasing a home may be more affordable than ever for first-time buyers. It also may be time for some renters to consider buying a place of their own. Whatever the situation, here are some guidelines to keep in mind when deciding between renting and buying. When to buy or rent. Renters weighing whether buy a home should meet the following criteria: They should be committed to living in the same location for a few years, have a secure job and income, and have saved up enough money for a down payment. Home prices have improved in some regions, but are still declining in many others. Some prospective buyers are still anxious about the continuing fall in home prices and are jumping into home ownership too early. Also, buying a home before you are financially ready can put a strain on your finances. When housing costs exceed 35 percent of gross income, you'll have to make … [Read more...] about Why renters should consider buying a home
Updated at 3:46 p.m. ET (MoneyWatch) Buying a house isn't a bad thing to do with your money, if you're ready to be a homeowner and you understand what you're getting into. But if you're justifying the purchase with the well-worn: "I just want to stop throwing away rent money," you are about to engage in a dumb money move that only sounds smart because no one has worked out the math. How could I possibly question the clear logic of this age-old wisdom? After all, you build up equity in a house. You don't build equity by renting, right? Absolutely. But to inject a tiny bit of reality into this dubious wisdom, let's look at the numbers. To make the comparison simple, let's say you bought a $240,000 home, putting $40,000 into a down payment. That leaves you with a $200,000 loan at 4.5 percent (assuming you have great credit and interest rates don't rise). Your mortgage payment on that loan would be $1,014. Again, just to make this simple, we'll assume that's roughly the same amount you'd … [Read more...] about Dumb moves that sound smart: Buying a house
If you think you're shelling out a lot of money on rent, you're probably right. Renters are spending an average of $2,000 more to keep a roof over their heads in 2017 than in a similar period. Yet while renting a home has continued to get pricier, homeowners have seen the opposite trend. They're spending less of their income on house payments -- to the tune of about $3,300 per year on average -- than they did just before the housing crash. It's enough to make renters run to their nearest realtor. Before you start house-hunting, however, some planning is order. Build your budget First, it's important to do a comprehensive financial review to figure out how much house you can afford. If you haven't started saving for a down payment yet or you have high-interest credit card debt, you'll have to figure out how to deal with those issues. "Cash flow is a big one -- if they are struggling now and they are going to end up buying a home, that may be more money than they are paying in … [Read more...] about Don’t buy a home without doing this first