When you purchase real estate, you need to decide how you want to hold the title. Many closing agents make an assumption, and that assumption may come back to bite you later in life. In most states, you may title real estate in five ways: sole ownership, joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, tenancy in common, tenants by the entirety, and in a living trust. If one of you should pass, you may not be able to avoid probate if the title to your real estate shows that you don’t own full interest in the property.
Methods of Holding Title
The methods of holding title determine whether you are able to avoid probate in many states for your primary residence.
Sole ownership means that you own the real estate yourself. If you are single, you may have your name listed as the sole owner of the property. If you are married, you may still hold the title as the sole owner, but you would be the only spouse who is liable for the financial burden.
Joint tenancy with the right of survivorship means that at least two people by the property and have their names listed on the deed. Each person owns an equal piece of interest in the property. If one person passes, their share goes to the other person. If more than two people are listed, the decedent’s share is divided equally among all of the people listed on the deed. This is the only way that your primary home has a chance to avoid going through the probate process unless you hold the property in a living trust.
Tenancy in common is used when two people buy a property together. Generally, the two people are not married. Each person owns their share separately from the other. This is where closing agents and attorneys make the mistake of not asking the buyers how they want to be listed on the deed. If you own a property as tenants in common and one person dies, the real estate must go through probate. If you are married and do not want your share to go to your spouse automatically, then you would instruct the closing agent to list the owners as tenants in common.
Tenants by the entirety is only available in some states. This method of ownership means that both spouses own the property. One cannot sell the property without the agreement of the other. If a creditor is going after one spouse for a debt that is not owned by both parties, the creditor is barred from attaching a lien on the real estate.
The Living Trust
Regardless of how you hold title to real estate with your spouse, if the property is transferred to a living trust, the property then passes to your beneficiary postmortem. The property does not need to go through probate. However, if you use a pour-over will, which means that the property is not in the trust, but automatically transfers to the trust upon your passing, many states require probate before the property changes hands. If you are considering using a living trust, contact a probate attorney to help you set this up so that it is done correctly.
The home selling journey offers no guarantees, and as such, there is no assurance that you'll be able to enjoy a fast, profitable home selling experience. Lucky for you, we're here to offer insights into the home seller's perspective and ensure you can reap the benefits of a successful home selling journey.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you become a smart home seller.
1. Analyze Your House's Strengths and Weaknesses
Although you've allocated significant time and resources to keep your house looking great over the years, your home soon may be just one of many houses that is available to property buyers. But if you analyze your residence's strengths and weaknesses, you may be able to identify opportunities to improve your house and differentiate it from others in a competitive real estate market.
Oftentimes, it helps to conduct a house inspection before you list a residence. This inspection will enable you to receive a comprehensive analysis of your house from a property expert. Then, you can use an inspection report to prioritize home improvement projects and upgrade your house accordingly.
2. Set an Aggressive Initial Asking Price
What you initially paid for your house is unlikely to match your home's present value. However, if you analyze the real estate market, you may be better equipped than ever before to establish an aggressive initial asking price for your residence.
Take a look at the prices of available houses in your city or town that are comparable to your own residence. By doing so, you can narrow the price range for homes in your region.
Furthermore, a home appraisal may prove to be exceedingly valuable. An appraisal enables you to receive a property valuation based on your house's condition, age and the current state of the real estate sector. With this appraisal in hand, you can set an asking price for your house that will hit the mark with many potential buyers.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Even a home seller who is persistent and intelligent may require additional help to achieve the optimal results. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who can make it simple for a home seller to maximize his or her home sale earnings.
A real estate agent is a housing market expert who is unafraid to be honest with a home seller. This housing market professional will offer unbiased feedback about a residence's condition and provide recommendations to help a home seller improve his or her property. Plus, a real estate agent is happy to respond to a home seller's concerns and questions. This means a home seller can receive extensive housing market insights from his or her real estate agent and make informed decisions throughout the home selling journey.
When it comes to selling a home, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and anyone can enter the real estate market as a smart home seller.
As a home seller, you need to do everything possible to learn about the competition. By doing so, you can find out what sets your house apart from other available residences and promote your home accordingly.
Ultimately, gaining a competitive advantage over rival home sellers can be simple – here are three tips to help you do just that.
1. Become a Real Estate Market Expert
Allocate the necessary time and resources to analyze the real estate market closely – you'll be happy you did. With housing market insights at your disposal, you can map out a successful home selling journey.
Take a look at the prices of homes that are currently available in your city or town. Focus on houses that are similar to your own, and you can establish a price range for your residence.
Also, examine the prices of recently sold houses in your area. This will allow you to see how long it took for these residences to sell. Plus, you can find out whether you're about to enter a buyer's or seller's market.
2. Learn About Your Home's Condition
Conduct a home appraisal, and you can gain unparalleled insights into your house's condition.
A home appraisal usually takes just a few hours to complete. During this appraisal, a property inspector will examine your residence and identify any home problems. Then, the inspector will offer a report that outlines his or her findings.
Following a home appraisal, you can determine the true condition of your house. That way, you can prioritize various home improvements and ensure that your home's condition serves as a key differentiator after you list your residence.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
If you're unsure about how to approach a competitive real estate market, there is no need to worry. Many real estate agents are available to assist home sellers and provide these sellers with extensive support throughout the home selling journey.
A real estate agent can offer tips to help a home seller bolster a house's interior and exterior. This housing market professional understands what it takes to promote a residence to the right groups of homebuyers too. Thus, he or she will do everything possible to guarantee your residence stands out from the competition.
Perhaps best of all, no question is too big or too small for a real estate agent. If you want to know the prices of recently sold houses in your neighborhood, a real estate agent can provide you with the pricing data that you need. Or, if you want to enhance your home's interior, a real estate agent is happy to help you discover the best ways to transform your house's interior from drab to dazzling.
Competition is fierce among home sellers. But with the aforementioned tips, a home seller can gain a competitive edge, one that can help this seller accelerate the home selling journey and get the best price for his or her house.
If you plan to buy a house, you'll want to apply for a mortgage before you launch your house search. That way, you'll have your finances in order and can narrow your home search accordingly.
Ultimately, there are several steps that you should take prior to applying for a mortgage, and these are:
1. Check Your Credit Score
A bank or credit union likely will analyze your credit score as it reviews your mortgage application. However, you can find out your credit score free of charge before you kick off the mortgage application process.
You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Submit a request for your credit report today, and you can receive comprehensive insights into your credit history.
2. Examine Your Earnings and Debt
How much you currently earn and your outstanding debt could play pivotal roles in your ability to acquire a favorable mortgage. Thus, you'll want to examine these factors closely so that you can better understand how lenders will view your mortgage application.
Also, if you have lots of outstanding debt, there is no need to worry. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about your debt and pay it off, you can increase the likelihood of obtaining a favorable mortgage.
3. Establish a Budget
Although a mortgage may prove to be essential to buy a house, it is important to consider various homebuying expenses as well.
For example, you may need to pay closing costs, home inspection fees and other expenses throughout the homebuying process. If you're worried about having the necessary finances to cover these costs, you may want to start saving money for them as soon as possible.
It often helps to account for the costs associated with cable, electricity, internet and other home must-haves too. The aforementioned homeownership expenses can add up quickly, but those who plan ahead can ensure they have sufficient funds available to cover these costs.
As you prepare to search for a house, it usually is a great idea to hire a real estate agent. This housing market can help you prepare for each stage of the homebuying cycle and ensure you can achieve your homebuying goals.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and find out what you want in a dream house. This housing market professional then can keep you up to date about residences that match or exceed your expectations.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent understands that no one should be forced to overspend to acquire their ideal residence. As such, this housing market professional will make it simple for you to discover a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.
Lastly, don't hesitate to reach out to a real estate agent for guidance before you apply for a mortgage. With a real estate agent at your side, you can learn about lenders in your area and find one that can provide you with the financing that you need to purchase your dream house.
If you’re buying a home for the first time, you have a lot to learn. There are so many decisions that need to be made and new terms to be understood. While you may have been saving up for a downpayment, you’re most likely going to need t finance the majority of the cost of your home. Knowing how to deal with lenders, real estate agents, and other professionals involved in the process of purchasing a home will make your life that much more straightforward. Read on for some mortgage tips that every first-time home buyer should understand.
Know Your Budget
You may find when you apply for a mortgage that you’re able to finance more than you thought you could. Being able to borrow such a significant amount is where many home buyers get caught in a numbers trap. Although the bank may be willing to loan you a certain amount, you might not actually be able to afford it. While the bank looks at many of your financial numbers, the bank doesn’t know your entire budget. How much you spend on groceries each month or the cost of your monthly phone bill are out of the picture when the mortgage company approves you for a loan. Whatever amount of money you borrow to buy your house will result in a monthly payment amount. If you’re only paying $800 per month in rent but your mortgage payment will be $1400, that will result in a significant budget adjustment. Will you be able to come up with the additional $600 each month to pay the mortgage? You need to look at your entire budget seriously to be safe in your mortgage transaction.
Plan For Out Of Pocket Expenses
You know that you need to save for a downpayment on the home of your dreams. What you may not know is that there are many other out of pocket expenses that you need to foot the bill for when you buy a home. These costs include:
Pizza for the people who help you move
Repairs to the home
There are so many expenses that you need to come up with when you buy a home. Don’t merely save enough for your down payment and stop. Make sure you have a financial cushion for emergencies, money to help furnish the house, and more.
Mind Your Credit
When you buy a new home, it may be tempting to buy new furniture, decor, or other items for your property. Hold off on opening any new credit or making large purchases. While a new car will look great in your new driveway, it won’t look so good on your credit score. Be very mindful of your credit score when you are getting ready to buy a home.