Insurance and Animal Bites


Question: My condominium association is overrun with dogs. We are concerned that someone will be injured, and we will be sued because we did not impose the proper precautions. What should we do?

Is There Really a “No Closing Cost” Mortgage?

Sounds attractive, doesn’t it? Getting a home loan and not having to pay those pesky closing costs? When you first embark on getting a home loan and talk to your loan officer, it’s information gathering time. You want to know how much you can qualify for, what your monthly payments will be and how much down payment you’ll need. You can be you’ll also ask about closing costs. Your loan officer can prepare a Loan Estimate for you.

This loan estimate is a three-page form that provides important information about a potential mortgage such as a note rate, the annual percentage rate, how much interest you would pay over the life of the loan and other data points. The loan estimate will also itemize potential closing cost...

4 “Big Regrets” to Avoid When Buying a Home


Fear of making The Wrong Decision can be the great immobilizer when it comes to buying real estate.

  • Fear that this is “the wrong time” to buy has kept many would-be homeowners on the sidelines and unnecessarily out of equity-building markets.

  • Fear of buying the “wrong real estate” can take many forms: fear of buying the wrong location to gain status or long-term value appreciation, the wrong size for family dynamics, the wrong price for financial security, or the wrong functionality for future family needs.

Regrets- manifestations of fear that can immobilize us when faced with big decisions- haunt us long after we make or defer the decision that created them. Be afraid to act and that failure to act may lead to regrets. Regrets about consequences of the delay, the resulting inertia, or the missed opportunity – regrets about what you wanted to do and what you should have done.

In real estate, buyers are faced with a series of big decisions involving often-unknown territory like downpayments, mortgages, real estate law, contracts, and life choices. Fear of making “The Wrong Decision” regarding any one or all of these issues is a common reaction. Real estate professionals work hard to keep fear in check for their buyers. Professionals aim to minimize or eliminate regrets – if buyers allow their real estate professional to help.

Head-off fear and regret by asking your real estate professional a lot of questions and listening to the answers. Using this informed approach when faced with “Big Decisions,” helps buyers avoid Four “Big Regrets”:

Written by: PG Wade

Why Price Shouldn’t Be the Only Driver in the Search for Your First Home


Buying your first house? You’re likely driven mainly by budget, but there are some other important considerations you may not have thought of that can help you find the perfect place. Not only can these tips help you find a h

ome that really suits your lifestyle, but also helps you afford to live there comfortably.

Can you afford to heat and cool it?
You may only be thinking of home size in terms of the number of rooms or square footage you want. But, in many cases, a larger home costs more to maintain. More space means more space to heat and cool. Although, a home that’s newer or that has updated systems can help defray costs because it’s more efficient. Your real estate agent may be able to get an idea of the monthly utility costs so you can have this information up front.

Who’s going to mow the lawn?
If you’ve never had your own lawn or garden, you may not know if you have a green thumb or if you’ll regard the time it takes to care for it as a pleasure or a bummer. Then again, if you’re already dreading the idea of having to spend a couple hours out there each week, perhaps a single-family home isn’t for you. Yeah, you could pay someone else to do it, but you’re already stretching to buy your own place, right? Perhaps the lower-maintenance lifestyle offered by a condo or townhome is the best option for you.

What’s good for resale?
Are you thinking about how easy it will be to sell your home when you’re just about to buy it? Maybe not, but, the truth it it’s always a good idea to think like a seller when buying. Chances are, this starter home won’t be your forever home, and the same questions you have about the floorplan or location are likely the questions would-be buyers will be asking when you go to sell.

As it relates to the floorplan, it’s a good idea to think beyond what you think you might want and consider what’s popular in the area. If homes with downstairs master suites sell especially well and you haven’t considered that plan, this info may make you rethink your strategy.

How close are the schools?
Dying to walk your kids to and from school every day? That’s the dream for many a parent. But what you might not be envisioning is being able to watch—and hear—every kid in the school walk by twice a day, every day. What seems like a super-convenient location right on the walking path to the elementary school may just turn out to be too much of a good thing if it impacts your privacy and peace of mind.

Did anything weird happen there?
Yes, the seller will be required to disclose physical defects and also defects that create the potential for stigmatization. “What you’re talking about is the issue of ‘psychological damage’ to a property, to be distinguished from ‘physical damage,’” said NOLO. “In some cases, the psychological damage is so great—such as after a violent or highly publicized murder or suicide, or widespread reports of haunting—that the house is considered ‘stigmatized’ and therefore less valuable. In most states, the owner would indeed be expected to disclose a defect causing the house to be stigmatized, so that buyers could adjust their expectations and purchase price accordingly.”

A natural death in the home, however, is not generally something that needs to be disclosed. If that’s the type of thing that could keep you from wanting to live there you, just ask. “If a prospective home buyer asks you outright about whether anyone has died in the home, you cannot lie (unless you want to risk being later sued for fraud),” they said. “Also, be prepared for any buyer who is interested in this issue (or shall we say obsessed by it?) to find out the information online, at a site like”

Written by: JAYMI NACIRI


The Smartest Fall Renovations to Make if You’re Planning to Sell Your Home

There are a lot of fall renovation tips centered on bring cozy warmth into the home. In fact, we just took a look at some hot trends last week. This week, we’re looking at renovations you can make with equity building in mind, courtesy of Scott McGillivray from HGTV’s Income Property and Moving the McGillivrays.

While some trends carryover, there is some great info here for those who are looking to make some updates to enjoy now, while being able to reap the potential future financial benefits.


Matte appliances
These are a “hot trend of the moment,” said McGillivray. And while he says that he likes how they “lend a luxurious look to the kitchen, and how they look great when paired with neutral colored cabinets,” he still thinks stainless steel is your best bet if you’re looking to sell anytime soon. It’s the “best choice for a long-term return on investment,” he said. While these matte finishes are great of-the-moment looks, I expect they’ll look dated a few years down the road.”

Quartz counters in warm colors
We may be moving away from all that white or counters that look like Carrara marble (only easier to care for). While quartz isn’t going anywhere, McGillivray is seeing a trend toward warmer shades. “Countertops that look like marble will always be in demand because they’re classic, but the tide is slowly turning,” he said. “We are seeing a trend where quartz counters in warm neutrals are in high demand. I think people are trying to get away from sterile looks and really make kitchens homey again.”

Light floors
“Along with the light and airy trend comes a desire for lighter floors,” he said. “Dark walnut and cherry finishes are out, and lighter, blonder woods are in. Similar to kitchen counters, I think the trend will be toward warmer colors rather than cooler colors. But light is definitely the way to go trend-wise.”


Hands-free technology
Smart homes aren’t the way of the future. They’re here, now, and the smarter the home, the more attractive it may be to buyers. “This may seem like old news to the early adopters, but more and more people are starting to embrace hands-free and SMART technology,” he said. “This means that anything in your home that you can command with your voice is going to be super popular.”

Less Serious (and More Fun) Spaces
It’s time to go a little wild with your home—but within reason. “I predict that people are going to stop taking their homes too seriously and have a little bit more fun,” he said. “This means more colors, more patterns and less concern over what’s ‘proper.’ While smart return on investment design decisions should still be made for fixed items in your home, let’s all relax a bit and have a little fun with our furniture and decor this year.”