Your First Home

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Record Foreclosures. Mortgage Meltdown. Credit Crunch. The headlines are filled with doom and gloom about the housing market. Despite the bad news, millions of people in the United States still want to achieve the American Dream of homeownership - and millions more are trying desperately to hang on to homes they previously bought.Maybe you're one of them. Too bad nobody ever taught you how to become a smart homebuyer - or even told you the whole truth about whether you were really ready to own a home at all.Until...

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Record Foreclosures. Mortgage Meltdown. Credit Crunch. The headlines are filled with doom and gloom about the housing market. Despite the bad news, millions of people in the United States still want to achieve the American Dream of homeownership - and millions more are trying desperately to hang on to homes they previously bought.Maybe you're one of them. Too bad nobody ever taught you how to become a smart homebuyer - or even told you the whole truth about whether you were really ready to own a home at all.Until now.In Your First Home: The Smart Way to Get It and Keep It, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach, offers a no-hype personal finance guide that will help you prepare for, find and finance the home of your dreams.For those worried about making the leap from renter to owner, Lynnette explains how to turn bad credit into perfect credit, in seven simple steps. Lynnette walks you step-by-step through the house-hunting and mortgage application process, saving you money and unnecessary frustration.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932450859
  • Publisher: Writers and
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Series: Customs and Etiquette Pocket Guides Series
  • Pages: 308
  • Sales rank: 965,353
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach, is a personal finance expert, television and radio personality, and the author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestseller Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom. Lynnette has appeared on such national TV programs as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, The Tyra Banks Show and Good Morning America.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     13
Foreword     15
Introduction     17
The Joy (and Pain) of Owning My First Home     18
Sick and Tired of Renting?     18
The Financial Benefits of Homeownership     19
How to Use This Book     20
The ABCs of Finding and Financing Your First Home     20
The Hard Part: Preparing for Homeownership     25
Determine If You are Really Ready to Own     27
Your Eureka Moment     27
A Necessary Reality Check     28
Get Emotionally and Financially Committed     29
Some Words of Wisdom for Women     30
Advice for Singles - And Couples     32
Money Matters Minorities Must Know     33
People Who Shouldn't Become Homeowners     33
Improve Your Credit     37
What is Your Current FICO Score?     38
Why You Need All Three Credit Reports and FICO Scores     39
How Your Credit Rating Stacks Up Against Others     40
The Five Factors That Determine Your Credit Score     41
Why Great Credit is Better Than Cash in the Bank     43
How to Fix Credit Problems and Establish Perfect Credit     44
Can You Piggyback off Another Person'sGood Credit?     52
Building Credit With Limited or No Credit History     53
Correcting Errors in Your Credit Report - In Just 48 Hours     54
Save for a Down Payment and Closing Costs     57
The Importance of Establishing a Cash Cushion     58
How Big of a Down Payment Do You Really Need?     59
How Much House Can You Truly Afford?     63
Why Smart Buyers Factor in Contingencies     63
How to Calculate Your Debt-to-Income Ratio     66
Front-End and Back-End Ratios Explained     67
Setting Realistic Expectations     69
Budgeting 101: Mastering Some Financial Basics     70
Two Easy Steps to Creating a Budget You Can Live With     74
Tips for How and Where to Save Money     77
Tips From a Single Mom Who Saved {dollar}50,000 in Two Years     81
The Special Account That Triples Your Savings, Guaranteed     82
Alternatives When You Have Little or No Money     84
Using Your Retirement Savings     84
Cash Gifts From Family or Friends     86
The Insurance Solution     87
How Your Employer Can Help     87
Why Big Business Wants You to be a Homeowner     88
New Federal Housing Tax Breaks May be on the Way     88
Take Advantage of First-Time Homebuyer Programs     91
Aid is Available to Overcome the Down Payment Dilemma     91
How Move-Up or Repeat Buyers Can Benefit Too     93
Federal/National Programs You Should Know     94
State Initiatives to Help Renters Become Owners     99
County Programs for First-Time Homebuyers     105
Tapping Into Local and City Housing Resources     106
The Latest From NY to the Windy City & Washington DC     107
Popular Non-Profit and Community-Based Programs     110
Federal Rules Impacting Down Payment Programs     117
Will Government Grant Programs Replace Non-Profit Aid?     118
Do Non-Profit Assistance Programs Really Help or Hurt?     121
Build Sweat Equity in a Home With Habitat for Humanity     123
Lender-Specific Programs for Which You Might Qualify     124
Special Homeownership Programs Based on Your Job     127
The Rise of Employer Assisted Housing Programs     128
The Money is Out There - Just Go Get It!     129
Make Yourself Attractive to a Lender     131
The Importance of Cash, Credit, and Character     131
Why and How Banks Assess Your Character     132
The Character Trait That Can Bolster Your Application     133
Tipping the Scales in Your Favor     136
Turning a "No" into a "Yes" With Compensating Factors     137
How to Get a Loan With {dollar}1 a Month in Income     137
How Computers Help Grade Your Loan Application     138
Insider Tips From an Underwriter     139
Let Non-traditional Assets Boost Your Qualifications     140
Intangibles Can't Hurt     141
Red Flags Bankers Don't Like     144
Looking Good on Paper     144
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage     147
The Difference Between Pre-Qualified and Pre-Approved     147
What to Expect During the Pre-approval Process     148
The Benefits of Getting Your Loan Pre-Approved     148
A Pre-Approval Letter Saves Time, Money, and Effort     149
The Limitations of Pre-Approval Letters     150
What to Do if You Don't Get Pre-Approved     151
The Fun Part: Becoming an Active House-Hunter     155
Find Your Dream Home     157
Enlist the Assistance of a Good Real Estate Agent     157
Should You Use a Buyer's Agent?     162
A Few Final Words About Agents     164
Getting the Most out of the MLS Database      166
Using the Internet for Your Search     167
Leveraging "For Sale By Owner" Networks     170
Do's and Don'ts When You Attend an Open House     171
The Importance of Cruising the Neighborhood     175
Five Reasons to Hire a Competent Home Inspector     177
Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Inspector     180
Lining Up the Best Lawyer for You     182
Negotiate the Best Possible Deal From a Seller     183
Tips to Secure the Right Price From a Seller     183
Strategies for Buying in a Seller's Market     184
Strategies for Buying in a Buyer's Market     187
Knowing When to Walk Away     191
Select the Right Mortgage and a Good Lender     193
The ABCs of How Mortgages Work     193
Pros and Cons of Fixed-Rate Mortgages     195
Adjustable Rate Mortgages: Are They Right for You?     195
What Flavor is Your Mortgage: Plain Vanilla or Exotic?     197
Interest Only Loans: A Buyer's Dream or Nightmare?     198
Some Thoughts About Subprime Mortgages     199
Choosing the Optimal Loan for Your Situation     201
Private Mortgage Insurance Vs. "Piggyback" Loans     202
Advice for Selecting a Reputable Lender      204
Can You Benefit From Using a Mortgage Broker?     205
Advantages of Using Direct Lenders     209
Smart Questions You Must Ask About Your Mortgage     209
Recognizing "Junk" Loan Fees from Reasonable Ones     212
How to Decipher Your Good Faith Estimate     214
Protect Yourself from Excessive Loan Charges     217
Get an Objective, Professional Evaluation of Your Loan     218
Common Mortgage and Home Buying Scams to Avoid     220
Sail Through the Closing Process     223
What to Expect During This Process     223
Knowing All the Players Involved in Your Closing     224
Preparing for Problems That Could Occur at Settlement     225
Typical Closing Costs     225
How to Know What You're Paying for     227
Dealing With Buyer's Remorse     228
You've Got the Keys, Now What?     230
The Future Part: Determining Your Own Destiny     231
Manage and Preserve Your Biggest Asset     233
Being a Responsible Homeowner     234
Your Home as an Asset     234
What Makes a Home a Unique Investment?     236
Turning Your Net Worth and Property Into a Legacy     237
Five Tax Tips for Homebuyers      238
Estate Planning Tips for Homeowners     239
Follow the Path to Sustainable Homeownership     243
The Seven Commandments of Successful Homeowners     244
Always Pay Your Mortgage on Time     244
Keep Up With All Required Property Taxes     247
Make Sure Your Home is Consistently and Adequately Insured     249
Maintain Your Home in the Best Possible Condition     251
Properly Manage the Equity in Your House     253
What Nobody Tells You About Home Equity Loans     255
Do's and Don't's When Refinancing Your Home     258
Increase the Rate of Appreciation on Your Property     260
Home Improvements That Pay off     260
Avoid Foreclosure and Other Pitfalls     263
What to Do if You Face Financial Difficulties     264
Foreclosure Myths and Realities     265
Strategies and Alternatives to Ward off Foreclosure     267
Beware of These Foreclosure Scams     269
Reputable Homeownership Preservation Groups to Know     271
State and Federal Efforts to Prevent Foreclosure     274
Unexpected Sources That Will Pay Your Past Due Mortgage     275
Last Ditch Efforts if Foreclosure is Inevitable     277
How to Bounce Back if Foreclosure Does Occur     278
Epilogue: Enjoy the Ride - And Strategize to Buy Your Second Home     281
The True Cost of Homeownership     283
State Websites for First Time Homeowner Programs     284
Mortgage Pre-Approval Checklist     289
Lender Comparison Chart and 10 Questions to Ask     291
Recommended Reading for Renters and Owners     292
Homebuyer Resources Available Online     293
Index     297
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