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Changes to the HAFA Short Sale

Beginning June 15, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will require mortgage servicers to make decisions on short sales under new guidelines, specifically:

  • acknowledge the documentation was received within three business days;
  • notify the borrower within five days if more paperwork is needed;
  • review and respond to a borrower within 30 days of receiving all documentation for short sale properties (the servicer can take up to 60 days on a decision if negotiations with mortgage insurers or other stakeholders linger); and
  • provide weekly status updates to the borrower if a short sale decision lingers past the 30 days.

The new Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) guidelines are designed to assist the most inventory-constrained markets in the United States with inventory levels by moving properties through the short sale process more efficiently.

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Foreclosures and Short Sales

Moving Checklist for Sellers.

___Provide the post office with your forwarding address two to four weeks ahead of the move.

___Notify your credit card companies, magazine subscriptions, and bank of your change of address.

___Create a list of friends, relatives, and business colleagues who need to be notified about your move.

___Arrange to disconnect utilities and have them connected at your new home.

___Cancel the newspaper, or change the address so it will arrive at your new home.

___Check insurance coverage for the items you re moving. Usually movers only cover what they pack.

___Clean out appliances and prepare them for moving, if applicable.

___Note the weight of the goods you ll have moved, since long-distance moves are usually billed according to weight. Watch for movers that use excessive padding to add weight.

___Check with your condo or co-op about any restrictions on using the elevator or particular exits for moving.

___Have a  first open box with the things you ll need most, such as toilet paper, soap, trash bags, scissors, hammer, screwdriver, pencils and paper, cups and plates, water, snacks, and toothpaste.

Plus, if you re moving out of town, be sure to:

___Get copies of medical and dental records and prescriptions for your family and your pets.

___Get copies of children s school records for transfer.

___Ask friends for introductions to anyone they know in your new neighborhood.

___Consider special car needs for pets when traveling.

___Let a friend or relative know your route.

___Empty your safety deposit box.

Put plants in boxes with holes for air circulation if you re moving in cold weather.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Short Sale Highlights

We are aggressively and successfully performing short sales thus helping hundreds of people to avoid foreclosure in Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties. No worries if your property is not located in these areas. These highlights hold true nationwide. However, you should always consult your tax professional and attorney for your specific situation. With that said Here are some short sale highlights!!

    • A short sale can have a much less negative effect on your credit than a foreclosure or deed in lieu of foreclosure
    • A short sale acts as a traditional closing with specified close date once we get an approval
    • In most cases a short sale approval will have the language for a waiver of deficiency.
    • If you maintain your credit you may be able to purchase a home in 24 months or less.
    • We have other affiliates who have sold homes to people who have short sold their home 90 days from the short sale date. They kept current on their payment all the way to close and bought 3 months later!!
    • Banks are more willing to do a short sale than foreclose on you. The time is now when things are so lenient and the government encourages it.
    • Banks are making the short sale process even easier!
    • It is estimated that there will be another 3,000,000 short sales, deed in lieu of foreclosure and foreclosures combined nationwide before we see this slow down. Why foreclose when you do not have to?
    • A short sale will cost you NOTHING! If anyone is charging you money to do a short sale, RUN!
    • A short sale is a means to a quicker recovery for you and your family.
    • This can be time to relieve a bad asset for you! IE negative every month b/c the rental market is so low!
    • The short sale process is fairly easy for you There are certain documents that are required. Once we get them from you, it is all up to us!
    • We do not guarantee a short sale but we have a strong closing percentage
    • Short sales can be done with 2 mortgages on the property.
    • A short sale will clean up all past liens Back taxes, HOA fees, etc All are paid by your lender at closing.
    • We average 7 days on the market for short sales.
    • You do not have to be delinquent on your mortgage to do a short sale. It is a personal decision.
    • Depending on how the property is held, you may not be taxed on the deficient amount! Speak with your accountant.
    • Timelines for short sale approval are becoming quicker and quicker.

I am sure I am forgetting some other things, but these should answer some of the most common questions homeowners have about short sales.


Article Source: http://www.articlesnatch.com

About the Author:
Steve Daria is the Broker / Owner at Maxim Realtors, LLC in Fort Myers, Fl.

Maxim Realtors, LLC is short sale servicing all of Lee, Collier and Charlotte Counties That is Punta Gorda, North Fort Myers, Pine Island, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Lehigh Acres, Fort Myers Beach, Estero, Bonita Springs, Naples, Marco.

Read more: http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/Short-Sale-Highlights/1193769#ixzz1hJY10Izy
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution No Derivatives

New Developments In Short Sale Transactions

Whether you have done short sales in the past, or you have educated yourself about these transactions, you are probably fairly familiar with the basic function of the real estate deal. Essentially, the owner of the home gives a third party the right to the deed of the home and to negotiate with the bank for a discounted price on the home in exchange for avoiding a foreclosure. The owner of the home does not make any money on the deal, but is able to walk away with salvageable credit and no debt over their head in most cases.

Click Me! To Find Out Everything
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Foreclosures and Short Sales

In the past, real estate investors would do short sale transactions, and then sell the homes on the open market to make staggering profits. Some of my colleagues routinely made 20 to 50 thousand dollars on short sales in fairly short order once they obtained the deed to the property because people were so eager to buy homes. However, since the real estate market took a dive, short sales have become much more common. At the same time, selling short sale properties has gotten more difficult because there are so many homes on the market. As a result, real estate investors have had to find new and innovative ways to flip short sales quickly.

There are a lot of ways to move short sale properties quickly, but before you get started with that, you need to understand some of the pitfalls that can arise thanks to more stringent lending requirements. If you do not factor in these new developments in lending practice and short sale transactions, you may end up with a property on your hands that you cannot get rid of, your short sale deal could simply fall through all together.

One of the biggest issues with short sales is lenders requirement that the sellers name be on the deed of the property. In a short sale, you are the seller, but if you are trying to arrange a quick flip, you may not have been planning to (or be able to) get conventional funding for the purchase of the property. Ideally, you would have your buyer bring in their funding, then purchase the home and you would get the difference. However, many lenders will not give your buyer funding unless you, the seller, are on the deed. This means that you also have to get funding for the short sale.

Sounds difficult? It certainly did complicate things for a while. However, there is a simple answer to this problem that will enable you to get the funding that you need (and your name briefly on the deed) so that you can finish your short sale flip. Well discuss this solution in the next lesson.

Peter Vekselman has been successfully investing in real estate since 1996. He has completed over 1200 real estate deals, owned a construction company, been a private lender, and owned a property management company. Peter currently works with clients all over the US helping them achieve riches in real estate investing. For more information please visit www.CoachingByPeter.com

Article Source: http://www.articlesnatch.com

About the Author:
Peter Vekselman has been successfully investing in real estate since 1996.
He has completed over 1200 real estate deals, owned a construction company,
been a private lender, and owned a property management company. Peter
currently works with clients all over the US helping them achieve riches in
real estate investing. For more information please visit
www.CoachingByPeter.com

Read more: http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/New-Developments-In-Short-Sale-Transactions–transactional-Funding–Part-1-/970386#ixzz1NNQtXeeN
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution No Derivatives

Several Reasons For A California Probate Attorney

Unfortunately, the law isn’t waiting for anyone, and the deceased person’s estate needs to be settled timely. The Last Will and Testament of the deceased defines the person or people that will be responsible for the estate settlement.

The person named in the Last Will to conclude the process is called the estate’s executor. Los Angeles probate court appoints the executor as the personal estate’s delegate through the process. And when you abide in California, hiring a properly qualified California probate lawyer has to be a primary priority.

The deceased is entitled as intestate incase of death without leaving a valid will. State laws define the estate property’s separation by this process. Restrictions of a family member estate are a part of the intestate regulations under the jurisdiction of the state the deceased has lived in.

This is exactly why it is important to deal with a professional estate planning attorney in Los Angeles. Funds mentioned in a beneficiary trust’s name usually avoid the probate proceeding, thus providing better solitude and less administrative costs. This also lets the probate attorney to divide assets quicker.

As you could assume, all estates differ from one another and have uncrossed funds to be valued, vended or divided to beneficiary trusts. Anyway, in order to avert a situation difficult to solve, they should discuss it with the probate attorney prior to executor’s action.

The estate settlement might take anywhere from 9 months to several years before it’s completely paid out and closed.

The deceased also might have left an affidavit on his estate, let’s suppose it’s small. If you live in Los Angeles, then you would need to hire a highly professional probate lawyer that would understand how California small estate affidavit works and would be able to carry you through the probate court, while not violating any norms in California probate code. It is necessary and critical. Nowadays’ financial crisis is not the best time for you to lose your small estate affidavit, or let it stretch to years. Your interest is to settle things as fast as possible. And this is another important reason why you might need to hire a probate lawyer.

If you are an inhabitant of Los Angeles, and you have something similar going on in your life, don’t hesitate about hiring a probate lawyer, especially in case of California small estate affidavit. It’s all in your hands, but you would surely need a professional that would understand your needs and worries, a professional that would diligently carry the case through the probate court and lead you out of it in the rays of victory.


Article Source: http://www.articlesnatch.com

About the Author:
Gregory Lederman represents clients of trust, estate, and probate matters throughout California. estate planning attorney los Angeles, Estate planning lawyer los Angeles, California probate attorney, probate court.

Answers to the California Mortgage Servicing Settlement

The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that everyone in the mortgage process-banks, mortgage servicers, and other institutions-are following the law. If they’ve not followed the law they should be held accountable. Banks and mortgage services expect that homeowners will meet their obligations under a mortgage; American homeowners should have the same expectation that banks and mortgage servicers meet all of their responsibilities. And it is our job in the federal government and in state and local government to make sure that they do. In meeting that obligation, the Obama Administration has coordinated the reviews and investigations conducted by a broad range of federal agencies and with the 50 state attorneys general to reach a servicing settlement agreement with lenders who have violated state and federal law and Americans’ trust.

Who May be Eligible for Assistance

Because of the complexity of the mortgage market and this agreement, which will be performed over a three-year period, borrowers will not immediately know if they are eligible for relief. Borrowers from states who did not sign the settlement will not be eligible for any of the relief directly to homeowners. Borrowers from Oklahoma will not be eligible for any of the relief directly to homeowners because Oklahoma elected not to join the settlement.

The settlement provides assistance for:

Homeowners needing loan modifications now, including first and second lien principal reduction. The servicers are required to work off up to $17 billion in principal reduction and other forms of loan modification relief nationwide.

State attorneys general anticipate the settlement’s requirement for principal reduction will show other lenders that principal reduction is one effective tool in combating foreclosure and that it will not lead to widespread defaults by borrowers who really can afford to pay.

Borrowers who are current, but underwater. Borrowers will be able to refinance at today’s historically low interest rates. Servicers will have to provide up to $3 billion in refinancing relief nationwide.

Borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure with no requirement to prove financial harm and without having to release private claims against the servicers or the right to participate in the OCC review process. $1.5 billion will be distributed nationwide to some 750,000 borrowers.

TIMELINE

Over the next 30 to 60 days, settlement negotiators will be selecting an administrator to handle the logistics of the settlement and monitor compliance.

Over the next six to nine months, the settlement administrator, attorneys general and the mortgage servicers will work to identify homeowners eligible for the immediate cash payments, principal reductions and refinancing. Those eligible will receive letters.

This settlement will be executed over the next three years.

WHERE YOU CAN GO FOR HELP

For loan modifications and refinance options, borrowers may be contacted directly by one of the five participating mortgage servicers. Keeping in mind the timeline above, you may contact the banks directly if you need additional information:

Ally/GMAC: 800-766-4622
Bank of America: 877-488-7814 (Available M-F 7am – 9pm CT and Saturdays 8am CT – 5pm CT
Citi: 866-272-4749
JPMorgan Chase: 866-372-6901
Wells Fargo: 800-288-3212 (Available M-F 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST)

Loans owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are not impacted by this settlement. You may visit the following websites to learn if your loan is owned by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac:

http://www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup
http://www.freddiemac.com/mymortgage
These sites will also include links to information about mortgage and foreclosure programs you may be eligible to access. You may also call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673)

For borrowers who lost their home to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011, a settlement administrator designated by the attorneys general will send claim forms to persons eligible for cash restitution.

If you believe you are eligible for relief under this settlement but are concerned you will be difficult to locate, please contact your Attorney General’s Office. We will collect and forward your information to the appropriate person to ensure you are contacted if you are eligible.

CONSUMER ALERT!

Scammers are already at work trying to capitalize on the national mortgage settlement to access your personal information–or worse, your money. The Attorneys General have already received reports of scammers in Alabama calling borrowers claiming to be one of the major banks involved in this settlement and offering a cash payment to consumers if they simply provide the routing number to access their bank account. If you receive an unsolicited call from one of the major banks, you can identify a scam in several ways:

Does the caller identify themselves as representing your loan servicer? Or do they ask you to provide the name of your loan servicer? If they ask you for the name of your servicer, they may be a scammer.

Does the caller offer to provide your personal information to assist you in identifying your account? Or do they ask you to provide that? If the caller is from your loan servicer, they will be able to tell YOU your personal information because they will have it. You should never provide your personal information (including bank account numbers, social security numbers, etc.) to an unsolicited caller–no matter what they promise you.

Does the caller offer to speed your settlement relief for a fee? They are definitely a scammer! Neither the banks nor the Attorneys General will charge a fee to speed your settlement.

If you think the caller may be legitimate, ask for their contact information, tell them you are going to call your bank’s hotline (located above) and confirm, then call them back. Chances are if they’re a scammer, they won’t want you to check on them and they won’t provide their contact information.

My Life As A Number CREDIT

Credit is an important part of buying a home. Lenders will scrutinize your credit history to determine if you are qualified to buy a home and what interest rates and fees to charge. The difference between having just okay credit and good credit can cost you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a loan.

You can establish good credit by:
Having a steady source of income, which for most people is working on a regular basis for 2-3 years
Having a good record of paying your bills on time
Keeping outstanding long term debts, like a car loan, low
Putting money in a savings account.

If you have a lot of credit cards, they are maxed out, and you are barely able to make the minimum payments, you are headed for financial disaster. That cool tee shirt or water bottle the credit card company tempted you with may end up costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars in the future!

A lot of people learn this the hard way and spend years paying off thousands of dollars in credit card debt while suffering the consequences of bad credit. And bad credit can prevent you from getting a loan for a home or even a car!

So how do lenders check your credit history The answer is by running a credit report. A credit report gives others a  snap shot of your credit worthiness. It will show what types of credit you currently have and/or what you have had in the past.

It also shows if you have paid your bills on time, filed for bankruptcy, or if you have ever been evicted from a rental property.

Because of sales commissions and one time up-front fees that are part of most real estate sales, home buyers should plan on staying in a home for several years to try to recoup these costs. If your lifestyle is mobile or you expect that you may need to move because of a job change, renting may be a better choice for you.

Home Buyer Hint
Having a good handle on what your credit situation is before heading to a lender to ask for a loan can save you countless hours and costs. For about $10, you can order your credit report by mail, phone or over the web from one of the three major national credit bureaus.

For more information, check:
TransUnion, www.transunion.com
Equifax, www.equifax.com
Experian, www.experian.com

In addition to providing you with a copy of your credit report, these bureaus can help  clean up any incorrect information in your report, and explain in more detail how to build up good credit and how to avoid bad credit.

If your credit is in bad shape, you may want to wait to buy a home and spend the time needed to repair your credit instead. Check out the resources section of this guide or surf the net to find a certified credit counselor who can help you get back on track.

MARS Rule and Real Estate Professionals

The Federal Trade Commission today issued a statement announcing that it will forbear from enforcing most provisions of its Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule against real estate brokers and their agents who assist financially distressed consumers in obtaining short sales from their lenders or servicers.

As a result of the stay on enforcement, these real estate professionals will not have to make several disclosures required by the Rule that, in the context of assisting with short sales, could be misleading or confuse consumers. As more and more American homeowners seek short sales, it is especially important that the Rule not inadvertently discourage real estate professionals from helping consumers with these types of transactions.

The MARS Rule was issued pursuant to authority granted by Congress in 2009. The issuance of the Rule followed numerous FTC and state enforcement actions against companies that claimed to be able to obtain from consumers’ mortgage lenders or servicers a loan modification or other relief to avoid foreclosure. The Rule covers companies or individuals, among others, who assist consumers in obtaining approval of a short sale from their lender or servicer.

A short sale occurs when a home is sold for an amount less than the balance owed on the mortgage loan, and the lender or servicer agrees to accept the proceeds of the sale instead of pursuing foreclosure. Short sales can benefit consumers by allowing them to escape from a mortgage that they cannot afford, while avoiding foreclosure. Many real estate professionals assist distressed homeowners by providing both traditional services associated with selling their homes (e.g., listing the property) and working to seek lender or servicer approval of a short sale.
The MARS Rule requires companies offering mortgage assistance relief services to disclose certain information to consumers about the services they provide, bans collection of advance fees, and prohibits false or misleading claims. After the Rule went into effect, a number of real estate professionals who help consumers with short sales raised concerns about complying with the Rule. These professionals pointed out that some of the required disclosures could confuse consumers or could be inaccurate in this context.

At this time, the Commission has announced that it will not enforce most of the provisions of the MARS Rule against real estate professionals who are engaged in obtaining short sales for consumers. The stay applies only to real estate professionals who: 1) are licensed and in good standing under state licensing requirements; 2) comply with state laws governing the practices of real estate professionals; and 3) assist or attempt to assist consumers in obtaining short sales in the course of securing the sales of their homes. The stay exempts real estate professionals who meet these requirements from the obligation to make disclosures and from the ban on collecting advance fees. These professionals, however, remain subject to the Rule’s ban on misrepresentations.

The Commission stated that the stay does not apply to real estate professionals who provide other types of mortgage assistance relief, such as loan modifications. In addition, the FTC will continue to enforce the Rule and Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices, against all other providers of mortgage assistance relief services.

The Commission vote approving the MARS Rule enforcement policy was 5-0. It can be found on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release. More information about the Rule can be found here, and information about consumers’ mortgage rights can be found here.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

FTC Will Not Enforce Provisions of MARS Rule Against Real Estate Professionals Helping Consumers Obtain Short Sales

FTC Rule to Protect Struggling Homeowners

Rule Outlaws Advance Fees and False Claims, Requires Clear Disclosures

Homeowners will be protected by a new Federal Trade Commission rule that bans providers of mortgage foreclosure rescue and loan modification services from collecting fees until homeowners have a written offer from their lender or servicer that they decide is acceptable.

“At a time when many Americans are struggling to pay their mortgages, peddlers of so-called mortgage relief services have taken hundreds of millions of dollars from hundreds of thousands of homeowners without ever delivering results,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said. “By banning providers of these services from collecting fees until the customer is satisfied with the results, this rule will protect consumers from being victimized by these scams.”

The FTC is issuing the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule to protect distressed homeowners from mortgage relief scams that have sprung up during the mortgage crisis. Bogus operations falsely claim that, for a fee, they will negotiate with the consumer’s mortgage lender or servicer to obtain a loan modification, a short sale, or other relief from foreclosure. Many of these operations pretend to be affiliated with the government and government housing assistance programs. The FTC has brought more than 30 cases against operations like these, and state and federal law enforcement partners have brought hundreds more.

Advance fee ban

The most significant consumer protection under the FTC’s new rule is the advance fee ban. Under this provision, mortgage relief companies may not collect any fees until they have provided consumers with a written offer from their lender or servicer that the consumer decides is acceptable, and a written document from the lender or servicer describing the key changes to the mortgage that would result if the consumer accepts the offer. The companies also must remind consumers of their right to reject the offer without any charge.

Disclosures

The Rule requires mortgage relief companies to disclose key information to consumers to protect them from being misled and to help them make better informed purchasing decisions. In their advertising and in communications directed at individual consumers (such as telemarketing calls), the companies must disclose that:

  • they are not associated with the government, and their services have not been approved by the government or the consumer’s lender;
  • the lender may not agree to change the consumer’s loan; and
  • if companies tell consumers to stop paying their mortgage, they must also tell them that they could lose their home and damage their credit rating.

Companies also must explain in their communications to consumers that they can stop doing business with the company at any time, can accept or reject any offer the company obtains from the lender or servicer, and, if they reject the offer, they don’t have to pay the company’s fee. The companies also must disclose the amount of the fee.

Prohibited claims

The MARS Rule prohibits mortgage relief companies from making any false or misleading claims about their services, including claims about:

  • the likelihood of consumers getting the results they seek;
  • the company’s affiliation with government or private entities;
  • the consumer’s payment and other mortgage obligations;
  • the company’s refund and cancellation policies;
  • whether the company has performed the services it promised;
  • whether the company will provide legal representation to consumers;
  • the availability or cost of any alternative to for-profit mortgage assistance relief services;
  • the amount of money a consumer will save by using their services; or
  • the cost of the services.

In addition, the rule bars mortgage relief companies from telling consumers to stop communicating with their lenders or servicers. Companies also must have reliable evidence to back up any claims they make about the benefits, performance, or effectiveness of the services they provide.

Attorney exemption

Attorneys are generally exempt from the rule if they meet three conditions: they are engaged in the practice of law, they are licensed in the state where the consumer or the dwelling is located, and they are complying with state laws and regulations governing attorney conduct related to the rule. To be exempt from the advance fee ban, attorneys must meet a fourth requirement – they must place any fees they collect in a client trust account and abide by state laws and regulations covering such accounts.

All provisions of the rule except the advance-fee ban will become effective December 29, 2010. The advance-fee ban provisions will become effective January 31, 2011.

The FTC rulemaking proceeding was conducted pursuant to Congressional legislation sponsored in 2009 by Senators Jay Rockefeller and Byron Dorgan. The Final Rule applies only to entities within the FTC’s jurisdiction under the Federal Trade Commission Act, which excludes, among others, banks, savings and loans, federal credit unions, common carriers, and entities engaged in the business of insurance. In June 2009, the FTC issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on the practices of for-profit mortgage relief companies. In February 2010, the FTC announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and sought comments from interested persons, including advocates for consumers, the business community, and the legal profession.

Click here for facts about mortgage consumers’ rights.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.  To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).  The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

Pros and Cons of Going Condo

Condominiums and townhouses offer an affordable option to single-family homes in many markets, and they re ideal for those who appreciate a maintenance-free lifestyle. But before you buy, make sure you do your legwork.

These are some of the important elements to consider:

Storage. Some condos have storage lockers, but usually there are no attics or basements to hold extra belongings.

Outdoor space. Yards and outdoor areas are usually smaller in condos, so if you like to garden or entertain outdoors, this may not be a good fit. However, if you dread yard work, this may be the perfect option for you.

Amenities. Many condo properties have swimming pools, fitness centers, and other facilities that would be very expensive in a single-family home.
Maintenance. Many condos have onsite maintenance personnel to care for common areas, do repairs in your unit, and let in workers when you re not home  good news if you like to travel.

Security. Keyed entries and even doormen are common in many condos. You re also closer to other people in case of an emergency.

Reserve funds and association fees. Although fees generally help pay for amenities and provide savings for future repairs, you will have to pay the fees decided by the condo board, whether or not you re interested in the amenity.

Resale. The ease of selling your unit may be dependent on what else is for sale in your building, since units are usually fairly similar.

Condo rules. Although you have a vote, the rules of the condo association can affect your ability to use your property. For example, some condos prohibit home-based businesses. Others prohibit pets, or don t allow owners to rent out their units. Read the covenants, restrictions, and bylaws of the condo carefully before you make an offer.

Neighbors. You re much closer to your neighbors in a condo or town home. If possible, try to meet your closest prospective neighbors.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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