Online Resources

These are the online resources that are mentioned in my book, How to Make Better Homebuying Decisions.

Appendix B – Resources – Link Summary

From the Copyright Page.

– Contact Tom Wemett.  978-248-9898  Email

From the Introduction.

– A recent bankrate.com survey of homeowners produced some shocking results.

https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/homebuyers-survey-february-2019/

– Here is some good advice to start with from Allan Roth, a Financial Planner.  It is from an article at aarp.org on August 8, 2016.

https://www.aarp.org/money/investing/info-2016/how-to-make-better-financial-choices-ar.html

From Chapter One – Renting vs. Owning.

As reported at keepcurrentmatters.com, The Net Worth of a Homeowner is 44x Greater Than A Renter! 

https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2018/08/20/the-net-worth-of-a-homeowner-is-44x-greater-than-a-renter/

From Chapter Two – Do You Have Enough Cash for a Down Payment and Closing Costs?

– “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership – Down Payment, Credit, and Affordability – September 2018”. 

https://www.urban.org/research/publication/barriers-accessing-homeownership-down-payment-credit-and-affordability-2018

(Click on the button to the right to download the 32 page “pdf” file.)

– Do you qualify for special down payment or closing cost programs? Check out my link to down payment sources nationally. 

From Chapter Three – Do You Have Credit Issues or Are Your Credit Scores Too Low?

– “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership – Down Payment, Credit, and Affordability – September 2018”

https://www.urban.org/research/publication/barriers-accessing-homeownership-down-payment-credit-and-affordability-2018

(Click on the button to the right to download the 32 page “pdf” file.)

From the USPIRG, US Public Interest Research Group, “The most valuable thing we have is our good name.”

https://uspirg.org/news/usf/new-report-analyzes-complaints-about-credit-bureaus

https://uspirgedfund.org/reports/usf/big-credit-bureaus-big-mistakes

From a 2012 Federal Trade Commission study mandated by Congress.  “One in five consumers has an error in at least one of three major credit reports

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2015/01/ftc-issues-follow-study-credit-report-accuracy

– For more information about credit reporting and credit scores go to the MyFico.com website.

https://www.myfico.com/credit-education

– The three major credit bureaus and their contact information are:

EQUIFAX – https://www.equifax.com/personal/

EXPERIAN – https://www.experian.com/

TRANSUNION – https://www.transunion.com/

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003—the FACT Act.  This requires credit bureaus to provide one free credit report every twelve months. The official web site is:   www.annualcreditreport.com.

https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action

– More information is available on the Federal Trade Commission’s web site.

https://www.ftc.gov/Click on the Get Your Free Credit Report button on the right side

– The CFPB is an excellent source of information about credit and homebuying.  Navigate to the CFPB consumer website.

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/Then check under Consumer Tools (Located in the top menu on the far left) for more information about financial related subjects.

– You can buy all three credit reports and FICO scores at www.myfico.com/

https://www.myfico.com/.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a warning.  “How to tell a reputable credit counselor from a bogus credit repair company.”

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/how-can-i-tell-a-credit-repair-scam-from-a-reputable-credit-counselor-en-1343/

From Chapter Four – Will You be Able to Find a Home You Like Within Your Budget?

– “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership – Down Payment, Credit, and Affordability – September 2018”

https://www.urban.org/research/publication/barriers-accessing-homeownership-down-payment-credit-and-affordability-2018

(Click on the button to the right to download the 32 page “pdf” file.)

Use one of the online rent-vs-buy calculators. I like the one available from NerdWallet.com.   https://www.nerdwallet.com/mortgages/rent-vs-buy-calculator. 

– Your Home Vision Checklist.  I have made this available on my website to help with the step of determining your home vision.  This file is from my own secure and trusted website.  https://secureservercdn.net/45.40.152.13/rms.fa6.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Your-Home-Vision-Checklist.pdf

What school district? Check out: https://www.greatschools.org/ for information about schools in the area in which you want to live.

– This website will give you the best up-to-date database of listed property anywhere in the country.  https://www.realtor.com/.

From Chapter Five – Should You Wait to be in a Better Buying Position?

–  Rent to Own – People often rent-to-own a TV, a computer or other household goods.  It can work also for buying a home.  A rent-to-own, also known as a lease/option, agreement allows you to lease a home that you have the “option” to purchase later when you are able. For more information on how this works, check out my rent-to-own website.

Rent to own explained

From Chapter Six – Do You Know Who to Trust and Work With?

– I have an arrangement with a national buyer agent referral service organization.  They help buyers find the best buyer agent to use in their area to help them buy their home.

best-buyer-agent-search.com

– The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials, ARELLO, lists the real estate commissions by state on their website.

https://www.arello.org/  Locate the state you are buying a home in.  Click on the state’s website for more information specific to your state.

– There is an excellent article about disclosures by the Consumer Federation of America.

https://consumerfed.org/   “New Report: Real Estate Disclosures about Agent Representation Often Lack Key Information, Are Too Complex, and Are Not Timely”.

– Avoid Loan Fraud.  Many buyer agents have begun to offer to credit a portion of the real estate commission to their clients. It is not illegal in most states for an agent to offer to pay money to a purchaser as an inducement to have them sign an exclusive agency agreement. However, this practice can lead to other problems for both purchasers and their agents further down the road, particularly at settlement. 

https://www.nvar.com/realtors/laws-ethics/legal-blog/debunking-legal-myths-kickback-vs.-rebate

From Chapter Seven – Understanding Mortgage Options and Obtaining a True Mortgage Pre-approval.

Government-backed programs include those sponsored by the US government.  Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  Veterans Administration (VA).  US Department of Agriculture (USDA) rural area loans.

FHA:  https://www.hud.gov/buying/loans

VA:  https://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/

USDA:  https://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do

– A rule went into effect on October 3, 2015 that requires borrowers must receive a loan estimate.  This is part of regulations overseen by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau-www.cfpb.gov

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/owning-a-home/loan-estimate/

– The APR computation is especially useful for two loans showing different interest rates. The APR computation isn’t perfect, but it does give you a basis for comparing loans.

https://www.bankrate.com/glossary/a/apr/

 – APR Calculator – When applying for loans, aside from interest, it is not uncommon for lenders to charge additional fees or points. The real APR, or annual percentage rate, considers these costs as well as the interest rate of a loan. The following two calculators help reveal the true costs of loans through real APR.

https://www.calculator.net/apr-calculator.html

See also an example of an APR calculation on this website – APR Calculations

From Chapter Eight – Looking at All Available Homes.

– Special loan programs allow borrowing money to buy the home as well as an amount to fix it up. FHA 203K is one such mortgage program.

https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/203k/203k–df

  Another such program that allows borrowing money to buy a home as well as an amount to fix it up is the Fannie Mae Homestyle Loan. 

Fannie Mae Homestyle Loan 

Compare the two. 

Property Tax Exemptions: Do You Qualify?  You may qualify for a money-saving property tax exemption. Learn about five types of tax relief. 

Property Tax Exemption Discussion

Challenging Property Taxes.  From Forbes, Millions of homeowners have no idea they can actually lower their property taxes. They casually glance — or grimace — at their mortgage escrow notice every year and pony up without doing a thing.  Despite possible savings of thousands of dollars, only 2% of homeowners appeal their assessments, which is the first step in lowering taxes.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwasik/2018/07/13/how-you-can-save-money-by-appealing-your-property-tax-assessment/#11d80d6075fc

From Chapter Ten – Including Contingencies for Property Inspections.

There are two national home inspector associations.  The American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI and the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, NACHI.

You can find report samples and information here.

https://www.homeinspector.org

https://www.nachi.org/blind.htm

– Consider other inspections and tests that may be applicable to the home you want to buy.  These aren’t included in most general inspections.

Radon Testing:  https://www.epa.gov/radon

Lead Paint Testing:  https://www.epa.gov/lead

https://www.epa.gov/lead/protect-your-family-lead-your-home-real-estate-disclosure

Mold Testing:  https://www.epa.gov/mold

Chimney Cleaning and Inspection:  https://www.csia.org/homeowners.html

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information about carbon monoxide poisoning. https://www.cdc.gov/co/default.htm

Fire Prevention:  The National Fire Prevention Association’s website will provide you with more information.  https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education

Wood-Damaging Pest (termite) Inspection:  Accurate identification of insect pests is essential to effective control. This is especially critical when wood-damaging insects invade your property. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than two billion dollars is spent annually on treating wood-damaging pests.  While other insects can be nuisances, wood-damaging pests compromise the structural integrity and value of your home.

Three primary pests are behind most insect-related structural damage in the United States are Carpenter Bees; Carpenter Ants; and Termites

Identifying-and-Controlling-Wood-Destroying-Insects

Swimming Pool Inspection:

For more information:  https://www.swimuniversity.com/pool-maintenance/

Well Testing:

Water filtration systems are available to manage such issues, including removal of bacteria. Visit:  https://www.culligan.com/blog for more information on water issues and solutions.

Septic Inspection and Certification:

If a home has a private septic system, you need to have it inspected. Bringing a septic system up to today’s code could cost thousands of dollars.  For information about how a septic tank works check out: https://www.epa.gov/septic

From Chapter Eleven – Knowing What Other Contingencies to Include in Your Offer.

Make your offer subject to the seller obtaining and providing a CLUE report. CLUE is a claims-information report generated by LexisNexis(R), a consumer-reporting agency.

More information is available at:  https://www.insurance.wa.gov/clue-comprehensive-loss-underwriting-exchange

From Chapter Twelve – Continuing to Check and Follow Up.

– Title Insurance:  https://www.firstam.com/ownership/videos/what-is-title-insurance/

– How to hold title:  https://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/08/title-ownership-property.asp

– Homestead Exemption:  https://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/homestead-exemption.asp

From Chapter Thirteen – Preparing for and Foreseeing Problems at Closing Time.

– Review of the Closing Disclosure:  Part of the closing process involves a review of a preliminary Closing Disclosure. Compare the Loan Estimate figures with the figures on the Closing Disclosure. There is a Closing Disclosure Explainer online.

www.consumerfinance.gov/owning-a-home/closing-disclosure

From Chapter Fourteen – Closing and Moving-in.

– Changing Your Address:  https://www.usps.com/  Click on “Quick Tools” and then on “Change My Address”.

Special Note: To help me keep the above resource links up to date, please email me with any issues you have with any of the links or to let me know that they were helpful. Tom Wemett